Higher-Wage Jobs Catching Up To Lower-Wage Jobs, Says Labor Department

You know the economy’s recovering when higher-wage jobs outpace lower-wage jobs.

The latest stats from the Labor Department show that, while lower-wage jobs are still higher in count than higher-wage jobs, higher-wage jobs are starting to make some gain on lower-wage job increases. For the last two months, mid-wage and high-wage positions have added 257,000 to their number, while lower-wage jobs have added 210,000. This is the sixth-straight month that employers have added over 200,000 new jobs, with employers adding another 209,000 jobs to the work roster from June.

Professional and business services added 47,000 new jobs, leisure and hospitality added 21,000, with retailers adding 27,000, construction 22,000, and manufacturers adding 28,000 to their numbers.

Architecturing and engineering jobs have added an additional 9,000 – which is impressive when you consider that this kind of boom hasn’t been seen in either industry since 2006. If you’re considering a career in Accounting, then prepare to celebrate: 45,000 new jobs have been added this year, which is a major boom from the 10,000 new jobs added last year (total). The sixth-month stretch of over 200,000 jobs is the longest stretch of job growth seen in the US since 1997.

It’s normally the case that, in a recovering economy, lower-wage jobs (defined as those that pay less than $18.50 an hour) would increase first, followed by higher-wage positions. UBS economist Drew Matus says that “low-wage jobs lead you out of the recession and then higher wage jobs take over.”

What these middle-wage and higher-wage jobs show is that the economy is making gains, that the situation is improving for those in the upper and mid sector. At the same time, there’s still an unemployment rate of 6.2%, up from 6.1% in June. The unemployed added another 74,000 to their ranks – and the permanently unemployed still make up one-third of all the jobless population.

What these numbers show is that there is some hope for higher-wage jobs and higher-wage individuals. At the same time, however, notice that the increases are being made in the higher-wage sectors with construction workers, accountants, and professional and business services. Many of these sectors are dominated by individuals with professional degrees (accounting degrees for accountants, strong math skills and measurement abilities for construction workers, and other professional degrees such as for IT workers, etc.).

Will these higher-wage job successes trickle down to the unemployed and jobless? We sure hope so, but only time will tell.