Newest job numbers show that businesses are expanding opportunities in high- wage fields (Part I)
In Delaware, Honeywell plans to hire people at $40,000 to $100,000 to work in a data- storage center.
In southern California, some of the latest openings involve working on the railroad, for $35,000 to $70,000 a year. Union Pacific plans to add 2,000 employees altogether.
These reports in the past month symbolize a welcome trend during an economic expansion that at first offered only tepid job gains, both quantity and quality.
This good news about the breadth of job creation comes against a backdrop of labor - market anxiety that has persisted despite the economy’s solid overall footing. Competition from imported goods, the threat of outsourcing services abroad, and a controversial influx of illegal laborers are just some of the farces that make many workers worried about their future.
Creating good jobs - the kinds that can keep American living standards rising - appears likely to remain a challenge. But current employment picture at least indicates movement in a positive direction.
“ We’re creating lots of all kinds of jobs, across many industries, occupations, and pay scales,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy. Com. But he adds: “ If your skill sets are rusty, or at the low end of the skill range, you’re going to have a tougher time.”
The economy added 211,000 jobs in March, according to a Labor Department report Friday - a solid showing about on par with expectations. The unemployment rate fell a notch, to 4.7 percent.
The new jobs still include plenty at the low end: An analysis by Merrill Lynch finds that some 40 percent of the net gain in March came in two areas known for low pay: retail services and leisure/hospitality, which includes restaurants.
But this is just part of a broader tapestry. Management and professional occupations are employing 1.2 million more people this month than a year ago - or about 1 in 3 new jobs in America. This is the highest - paying of five broad categories tracked by the Labor Department. Not all of them are CEOs or engineers, but the median paycheck for full - time workers in this category is $937 a week, far above the US median of $651.
The construction industry continues to hammer out more than its share of new jobs. It accounts for about 6.4 percent of US jobs, but has provided 14.4 percent of the past year’s job growth. The quality of construction jobs is mixed - often offering higher hourly pay than the US median but with lower benefits.
Even the manufacturing sector, which has long offered blue - collar workers a measure of middle - class prosperity, appears to be stabilizing after a period of heavy job losses. Despite downsizing in the automotive industry, 175,000 more people are employed in production occupations today than a year ago.