Big cities no longer deliver for low skilled workers

Mar 2012
52,896
35,012
New Hampshire
#1
The story goes something like this: Forty years ago, Americans who didn’t go to college could move to cities and get good jobs in manufacturing or office work. But starting in about 1980, these jobs began to disappear, thanks in part to offshoring and automation. By 2000, manufacturing was in steady retreat.

Workers without a college education were increasingly shunted into low-skilled service jobs — cleaning, security, retail, food service and manual labor. Fortunately, more Americans went to college than before, but the ones who didn’t were increasingly marginalized. Even as educational inequality was growing, geographic inequality was growing as well. High-skilled occupations increasingly clustered in cities, while low-skilled service jobs have become more plentiful outside of urban centers. At the same time, wages for mid-skilled jobs like manufacturing and office work equalized between cities and rural areas — workers in these jobs can no longer get much of a pay bump by moving into town.

Thus, a major route to middle-class prosperity has been closed off. In the old days, even people without a college education could move into the big city and work in a factory or office for a good salary — now, they might as well stay in their hometowns. Data probably understates how bad prospects are in big cities for people without college degrees. Rent and other costs of living are much higher in urban areas, meaning a paycheck doesn’t go nearly as far there. Wage subsidies, government health care, income support, portable pensions, pro-union policies, and various other incentives for higher wages can be deployed to make today’s low-skilled jobs more like the good office and factory jobs of yesteryear. The alternative may be to watch non-college workers and small towns fall further behind.

Bloomberg - Are you a robot?
 
Sep 2014
4,508
1,332
South FL
#2
FYI you can actually edit the post so that the text from the link doesn't include the 'Are you a robot?"

Personally I think unfair trade practices are to blame here. I can make high wage jobs in manufacturing. I need ONE guarantee: Governments, no government, not our government or a foreign government, can subsidize my competitors. I can make many things cheaper here too. I won't do it.

Of course manufacturing value added is at an all time high: Value Added by Private Industries: Manufacturing

In relative terms it has shrunk: Value Added by Private Industries: Manufacturing as a Percentage of GDP

If the Chinese subsidize steel, or if the US subsidizes farms, or if the EU subsidizes Airbus, or if Qatar subsidizes Emirates. There's seemingly no end to it, if governments can subsidize one sector, they can subsidize another, so ultimately capital-intensive investment needs to incorporate in the decision making the possibility that governments will just arbitrarily and capriciously boost your competitor and torpedo your business. I can't invest on that basis. If it can be done in China and shipped here, even if I can do it cheaper here, I'm not going to do it.
 
Last edited:
May 2016
3,559
883
california
#3
I'd add the opinion that a college education isn't worth much either. Unless it fits a niche market in demand, otherwise Post Office is the future young man.
 
Likes: MaryAnne
Jan 2014
16,076
4,218
California
#4
The story goes something like this: Forty years ago, Americans who didn’t go to college could move to cities and get good jobs in manufacturing or office work. But starting in about 1980, these jobs began to disappear, thanks in part to offshoring and automation. By 2000, manufacturing was in steady retreat.

Workers without a college education were increasingly shunted into low-skilled service jobs — cleaning, security, retail, food service and manual labor. Fortunately, more Americans went to college than before, but the ones who didn’t were increasingly marginalized. Even as educational inequality was growing, geographic inequality was growing as well. High-skilled occupations increasingly clustered in cities, while low-skilled service jobs have become more plentiful outside of urban centers. At the same time, wages for mid-skilled jobs like manufacturing and office work equalized between cities and rural areas — workers in these jobs can no longer get much of a pay bump by moving into town.

Thus, a major route to middle-class prosperity has been closed off. In the old days, even people without a college education could move into the big city and work in a factory or office for a good salary — now, they might as well stay in their hometowns. Data probably understates how bad prospects are in big cities for people without college degrees. Rent and other costs of living are much higher in urban areas, meaning a paycheck doesn’t go nearly as far there. Wage subsidies, government health care, income support, portable pensions, pro-union policies, and various other incentives for higher wages can be deployed to make today’s low-skilled jobs more like the good office and factory jobs of yesteryear. The alternative may be to watch non-college workers and small towns fall further behind.

Bloomberg - Are you a robot?
bajisima,

Here's a solution. Let's import hundreds of thousands unskilled, illiterate, uneducated peons from Central America who will work for peanuts and further box those low skilled Americans out of their jobs.
 
Mar 2015
25,845
12,178
Istanbul NOT Constantinople...
#5
bajisima,

Here's a solution. Let's import hundreds of thousands unskilled, illiterate, uneducated peons from Central America who will work for peanuts and further box those low skilled Americans out of their jobs.
Most of those guys were EXTREMELY skilled at what they did back home and they worked jobs here primarily in construction. To call them unskilled is flat out wrong. Americans were the ones who put Americans out of work by showing up drunk, getting locked up or not showing up at all.
 
Likes: MaryAnne
Apr 2012
57,332
42,148
Englewood,Ohio
#6
Most of those guys were EXTREMELY skilled at what they did back home and they worked jobs here primarily in construction. To call them unskilled is flat out wrong. Americans were the ones who put Americans out of work by showing up drunk, getting locked up or not showing up at all.
I wish I could disagree but that was part of the me too generation. Thought they should not have to work for what their Fathers worked for.
 

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