Friday, July 09, 2004

The rich get richer, the poor get the picture. From Stephen Roach today.
All in all, as seen from the standpoint of this industry-by-industry breakdown of the US job structure, there can be no mistaking the bifurcation of the improved hiring dynamic over the past four months: The contribution of lower-end jobs (44%) was about 50% greater than that of higher-end jobs (29%). In my view, that qualifies as a decidedly low-quality improvement in the US labor market.

. . . According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the count of nonfarm persons at work part time � both for economic and non-economic reasons � increased by 495,000 over the February to June 2004 interval. That amounts to an astonishing 97% of the cumulative increase of 509,000 in total nonagricultural employment as captured by the household survey over this period. By this metric, as the hiring dynamic has shifted gears in recent months, the bulk of the benefits have flowed largely to contingent workers.

. . . it turns out that fully 81% of total job growth over the past year was concentrated in low-end occupations such as transportation and material moving, non-professional services, sales, and the installation, maintenance, and repair grouping.
No wonder real wages for production workers -- about 80% of the US workforce -- have been on a steady decline since November.

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