The gains of 156,000 jobs were dominated by increases in health care and social assistance (63,000 new jobs) and leisure and hospitality (24,000 new jobs). These are low-paying jobs that serve as entry-points to the labor force. A growing economy should be generating higher-paying positions in professional services and manufacturing.
The creation of low-skill jobs can also be seen in the change in the unemployment rates of different demographic groups. Teens, whose jobs are low-paying, saw a reduction of their unemployment rates of half a percentage point. Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, who generally earn higher-than-average wages, saw an increase in their unemployment rate of two-tenths of a percentage point. The next administration needs to focus on creating job growth in high-paying industries as well as in low-wage ones.
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