Is the Middle of the Job Market Disappearing? A comment on the "Polarization" Hypothesis

Research Report

Is the Middle of the Job Market Disappearing? A comment on the "Polarization" Hypothesis

May 14, 2010

Abstract

This paper reviews recent work by economist David Autor, who argues that job opportunities are expanding in high-wage, high-skill as well as low-wage, low-skill jobs while contracting in the middle of the labor market. Indeed, there has been significant shrinkage in mid-paying production and clerical jobs that mostly require routine tasks. But, in parts of the middle-skill job market where some postsecondary education or training are required for jobs involving non-routine work, labor demand remains fairly strong. Post-secondary education and training short of a bachelor's degree remain important preparation for these kinds of jobs.

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