In this oped from today’s Financial Times, I made the point that while the nation would definitely benefit from a strategy to preserve and expand our manufacturing base, job growth there is likely to be limited by both globalization and labor-saving productivity growth.
So we also need to be mindful of the quality of jobs in the services.
The chart below, from the BLS employment projections, shows the top 30 occupations expected to add the most jobs over this period. A few of the jobs, like computer engineers and physicians, require college or more, but most don’t.
Source: BLS Employment Projections
If the Bureau’s predictions are anywhere near accurate, and they’ve got a good track record, once the economy finally gets back on track, we will create these types of service jobs in “non-tradable” sectors. From my oped:
But job quality in this sector is bifurcated. We’ll need more security guards and cashiers along with computer whizzes and market analysts. The high-end folks will be fine. But you must find ways to ensure that low-end service jobs are decent. That means more training – a home health aide with training in gerontology adds more value than one with only a high school diploma.
But these jobs won’t be good enough without robust tax credits attached to earnings and guaranteed family healthcare. Again, putting that combination together is great economics and great politics. Rather than romanticising about factories of the future – when many will be run by robotics – be straight with people about the jobs they know will make up their lives, and then fight to make them good jobs.
Nursing aides, child care workers, salepersons–lots of Americans will be doing this work. A strong Earned Income Tax Credit and reliable, affordable, family health care can make them decent jobs, and that too must be part of our policy agenda.