Middle-Wage Jobs Aren’t Growing at the Same Rate as Others

August 5, 2016 Rob Zaldivar

With the general election on the horizon, each candidate continues to focus on the importance of adding new jobs to our economy. One thing we can all agree on: Everyone wants to add a large – some say ‘uge – number of well-paying jobs during their presidency.

In fact, over the next five years, the U.S. economy is projected to add over 7.2 million new jobs, according to new CareerBuilder research. But, growth is not consistent among those jobs that earn low, middle and high wages.

According to the study, high-wage and low-wage occupations are each projected to grow 5 percent from 2016 to 2021, but middle-wage jobs are only estimated to grow 3 percent. At the same time, 61 percent of the 173 occupations expected to lose jobs over the next five years are in the middle-wage category.

The trend of declining middle-wage employment is nothing new, but continues to pose serious consequences for the economy overall, says CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson:

If we can’t find a way to re-skill and up-skill workers at scale, middle-wage workers will become increasingly susceptible to unemployment or will have to move into lower-paying roles that may not support them and their families. This can have a negative ripple effect on consumer spend, housing, investing and other key financial indicators.

Top Growing and Declining Jobs by Wage Category

Growing High-Wage Occupations

Occupation 2016 Jobs 2021 Jobs Job Added 2016 – 2021 2016 – 2021  % Change
Software Developers, Applications 772,195 861,122 88,927 12%
Computer Systems Analysts 600,001 671,245 71,244 12%
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists 532,336 590,363 58,027 11%
Management Analysts 798,484 870,713 72,229 9%
Registered Nurses 2,870,340 3,116,957 246,617 9%

 

Declining High-Wage Occupations

Occupation 2016 Jobs 2021 Jobs Job Added 2016 – 2021 2016 – 2021  % Change
Postal Service Mail Carriers 303,325 279,023  (24,302)  (8%)
Reporters and Correspondents 47,501 44,063  (3,438)  (7%)
Construction Managers 368,245 350,774  (17,471)  (5%)
Real Estate Sales Agents 415,006 400,417  (14,589)  (4%)
First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers 622,435 617,020  (5,415)  (1%)

 

Growing Middle-Wage Occupations

 

Occupation 2016 Jobs 2021 Jobs Job Added 2016 – 2021 2016 – 2021  % Change
Medical Assistants 631,435 701,056 69,621 11%
Customer Service Representatives 2,674,925 2,846,989 172,064 6%
Maintenance and Repair Workers 1,466,944 1,535,161 68,217 5%
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers 1,926,886 2,009,133 82,247 4%
Office Clerks 3,365,039 3,489,518 124,479 4%

 

Declining Middle-Wage Occupations

Occupation 2016 Jobs 2021 Jobs Job Added 2016 – 2021 2016 – 2021  % Change
Printing Press Operators 174,311 159,083  (15,228)  (9%)
Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers 494,879 458,732  (36,147)  (7%)
Travel Agents 77,683 72,789  (4,894)  (6%)
Carpenters 1,053,273 1,031,359  (21,914)  (2%)
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks 1,780,151 1,752,270  (27,881)  (2%)

 

Growing Low-Wage Occupations

Occupation 2016 Jobs 2021 Jobs Job Added 2016 – 2021 2016 – 2021  % Change
Home Health Aides 992,134 1,179,527 187,393 19%
Cooks, Restaurant 1,219,433 1,333,041 113,608 9%
Nursing Assistants 1,520,614 1,655,662 135,048 9%
Security Guards 1,185,116 1,260,953 75,837 6%
Janitors and Cleaners 2,632,801 2,792,345 159,544 6%

 

Declining Low-Wage Occupations

Occupation 2016 Jobs 2021 Jobs Job Added 2016 – 2021 2016 – 2021  % Change
Door-to-Door Sales Workers, News and Street Vendors 78,078 64,271  (13,807)  (18%)
Sewing Machine Operators 157,931 135,575  (22,356)  (14%)
Floral Designers 53,876 48,391  (5,485)  (10%)
Cooks, Fast Food 545,746 530,839  (14,907)  (3%)
Tellers 501,879 490,202  (11,677)  (2%)

 

Keeping up with skills that are in high demand in today’s market has become more important than ever. CareerBuilder and Capella Education have partnered to deliver RightSkill as an educational platform designed to tackle these tough challenges. Learn more.

 

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