Neil Irwin at The New York Times Upshot feature noted in an analysis Thursday—With ‘Gigs’ Instead of Jobs, Workers Bear New Burdens—that there is a major shift underway:
That’s a key implication of new research that indicates the proportion of American workers who don’t have traditional jobs — who instead work as independent contractors, through temporary services or on-call — has soared in the last decade. [...]
Most remarkably, the number of Americans using these alternate work arrangements rose 9.4 million from 2005 to 2015. That was greater than the rise in overall employment, meaning there was a small net decline in the number of workers with conventional jobs.
One key aspect of that shift to alternative arrangements is that employers are also shifting the burden of providing social insurance to workers. That will have profound impacts. In most of the rest of the advanced economies, it’s the government that provides social insurance—health coverage, unemployment compensation, as well as compensation for job-related injuries. But in the United States, that safety net has been provided in great part by employers. That shift ought to put more pressure on U.S. politicians either to rework the laws mandating employer coverage for workers in these alternate, contractual arrangements or instituting programs that makes this a government responsibility.
Another issue, as noted by Robert E. Scott and Dave Cooper at the Economic Policy Institute:
Almost two-thirds of people in the labor force (65.1 percent) do not have a college degree. In fact, people without a college degree (which includes those without a high school degree, with a high school degree, some college education, and an associates’ degrees) make up the majority of the labor force in every state but the District of Columbia. Mississippi has the highest share of non-college educated workers (75.7 percent) while Massachusetts and the District of Columbia have the lowest shares (51 percent and 33.7 percent, respectively). [...]
It is no secret that wages for typical workers have stagnated over the past 35 years. The lagging recovery of construction and manufacturing sectors, two sectors which traditionally provide strong wages for workers without college degrees, is one reason for this wage stagnation. Trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership threaten to make the possibility of strong, middle-class jobs even more elusive for non-college educated workers.
We cannot solve the problem of low and stagnating wages for non-college educated workers by expecting everyone to pursue more education. We need solutions that will raise wages for all workers, regardless of educational attainment.
Additional key aspects of the March job report:
Unemployment Rate by Age/Sex/Race/Ethnicity
Teenagers: 15.9%; Adult men: 4.5%; Adult women: 4.6%; Whites: 4.3%; Blacks: 9%; Asians: 4.0%; Hispanics: 5.6%; American Indians: (not counted monthly)
Hours & Wages
• Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose 4 cents an hour to$21.37 in March.
• Average work week for all employees on non-farm payrolls remained at 34.4 hours in March.
• Average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls rose 7 cents an hour in March to $25.43.
• The manufacturing workweek in March fell 0.1 to 40.6 hours.
• The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private non-farm payrolls in March remained unchanged at 33.6 hours.
Job gains and losses in March for selected categories:
• Professional services: + 33,000
• Transportation & warehousing: - 2,500
• Leisure & hospitality: + 40,000
• Information: + 1,000
• Health care & social assistance: + 44,000
• Retail trade: + 47,700
• Construction: + 37,000
• Manufacturing: - 29,000
• Mining and Logging: - 12,000
Here's what the seasonally adjusted job growth numbers have looked like in March for the previous 10 years compared with today’s gain of 215,000.
March 2006: + 281,000
March 2007: + 189,000
March 2008: - 78,000
March 2009: - 823,000
March 2010: + 163,000
March 2011: + 225,000
March 2012: + 239,000
March 2013: + 135,000
March 2014: + 272,000
March 2015: + 84,000
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