Comments about ‘The disappearing middle-class jobs’

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Published: Sunday, May 26 2013 10:25 p.m. MDT

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LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

In other words --

The rich get richer,
the poor are getting poorer.

Between my 401K and my home value -- I've lost over $ 1/2 million.

I played by all the rules, made sound investments [not risky ones],
was always frugal and followed the Prophet's advise to the letter.

I blame GW Bush.

prelax
Murray, UT

If there is going to be a much smaller middle class, then we need to stop allowing low income workers to immigrate here.

DVD
Taylorsville, 00

We are getting to the point where supporting human beings in an economy while at the same time having a robotic workforce is going to be a bigger decision point. But we're also burdened with the willingness of some parts of Earth to use their huge population as slave labor and sell that to us. A global treaty regarding a minimum wage could help both competition and the result in the end of ignorantly using things made by the bloody hands of a child slave in India or Bangladesh.

Hamath
Omaha, NE

@ LDS liberal,If you read the article and look at the graphic, it shows that the loss in middle jobs have mostly shifted to upper skills jobs. Only 3% of the total jobs went from middle skill jobs to low skill jobs (15% up to 18%), but 11% of the jobs went from middle skill jobs to upper skill jobs (26% to 37%). This doesn't justify

The rich get richer,
the poor are getting poorer.

It says more like the middle class are moving to the upper class. I'm not sure that is true by any means, but the article doesn't say what you are thinking it says.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

Ya'know, it isn't as though this condition and the processes that have gotten us here wasn't predicted or couldn't have been anticipated.

Mechanization and/or automation, in many forms, has been an increasingly prominent feature of society for the last almost 300 years. True, the advent and more recent ubiquity of the computer, that most versatile of machines, has rapidly accelerated that process during the last 35 years or so.

But, warnings about the insufficiency of a High School diploma have been blaring for at least 30 years. I remember because it was those warnings in the late 70's that prompted me to get my act together and push for college graduation. Something I completed, finally, after 12 years of on/off attendance (had to work my way through college).

With the incredible advances in robotics and A.I. in the last 10 years or so, I'm not sure what will be left for people to do for work in the future. I hope that means we'll finally attain the utopian dream where robots will be doing what we don't want to while we spend some kind of lives of productive leisure. The alternative is scary to contemplate.

Bloodhound
Provo, UT

With slave labor being used by multinational corporations overseas and machines used here (robots and computers), I wonder what jobs will be left for people to do in the next couple of decades. A few months ago on 60 minutes, some experts on technology and jobs said there will really be little to no work for most people to do in the next generation. In other words, all the education in the world may not find you a job. If this is so, we will have to drastically recalibrate how humans divide up the food and goodies the machines make. It'll be interesting.

carman
Wasatch Front, UT

To LDSLiberal:

If you have lost $0.5M, you have not been that wise. You either bought too much home in the housing boom (many of us did not), or traded in and out of stocks and missed the big run-up, or a combination of those and other poor decisions. Blue-chip stocks are hitting all-time highs, with the most conservative of those investments (utilities, dividend paying blue-chips, etc,) having some of the best runs. Most smart investors I know have been hitting all-time highs for two years or more.

You can blame others, including GWB, if it makes you feel better, but that will only give you psychological refuge that may help you temporarily feel better, but won't help you understand your mistakes and how to avoid them in the future.

Save. Invest wisely including diversification. Live frugally. You will be fine.

carman
Wasatch Front, UT

This article highlights the fact that Utah needs to put more emphasis in our elementary and secondary schools on math and science skills. We over-emphasize dance, sports, etc. in this state, and do a miserable job preparing most students for college in core subjects such as reading/writing, math and science.

We can continue to stick our head in the sand and think our schools are doing an ok job. The reality is that most of our high school graduates are not ready in three out of four core college subjects, and have to take remedial classes in these subjects. When adjusted for demographic advantages in the state, our students do worse than the national average in math and science (and other subjects!). We need to fix this. Now.

prelax
Murray, UT

PEW put out an article called "The Lost Decade of the Middle Class" it shows people moving down, not up. And robotics was not one of the reasons.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Technology has displaced workers for a long, long time, and we've always managed to find new things to do.

What we haven't really seen yet is the displacement of high skills workers, but there's ample reason to think this is on the way. Robotics is getting better and better at surgery, and IBM's Watson, which smoked everyone on the memory skills show Jeopardy! is being applied to medical diagnosing, so patients will soon increasingly rely not on their physician's memory and diagnostic skills, but on the sophistication of automated medical diagnosis. This will occur within the next 10-15 years.

What accountants did 5 years ago is now performed by systems, even newspaper articles will increasingly be written automatically by sophisticated software that can compile some facts into a publishable story.

The breadth and depth of technological displacement may put more widespread pressure on our population as employment is segmented into jobs that are still cheaper to perform by humans, and jobs that have not yet been automated.

As the children of physicians and attorneys increasingly struggle to find employment, we may find our views of employment and wealth need to change.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

A half century ago America’s largest private-sector employer was General Motors, whose full-time workers earned an average hourly wage of around $50, in today’s dollars, including health and pension benefits.

Today, America’s largest employer is Wal-Mart, whose average employee earns $8.81 an hour. A third of Wal-Mart’s employees work less than 28 hours per week and don’t qualify for benefits.

Corporations have been investing in technology rather than their workers. They get tax credits and deductions for such investments; they get no such tax benefits for improving the skills of their employees. As a result, corporations can now do more with fewer people on their payrolls. That means higher profits.

(Various quotes by Robert Reich)
Corporate profits are claiming a larger share of national income than at any time in 60 years, while the portion of total income going to employees is near its lowest since 1966.

Oatmeal
Woods Cross, UT

Technology will present us with an opportunity for a golden age or a path to class warfare. The choice is ours. We could literally have a nearly classless society of well-educated, industrious and high achieving individuals. It comes down to us developing new ideas of wealth, education, economics, industry and happiness. So which shall it be? Can we develop the society, system of ethics and culture to match our technology? Or will our story read more like a sci-fi disaster?

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Oatmeal:

You describe a rosy scenario. I hope you're right, and we become a classless society that can reap the benefits of technological progress.

The history of our economic system is one of great competition, and the analysis so far indicates that technology widens economic inequalities, even in the Scandanavian countries that educate their kids with equality as a goal.

Greater inequality is likely to lead to a host of problems, and we may have to get very creative to achieve a society that can avoid those problems, in general.

calcu_lus
tucson, az

If you want to see more middle class jobs disappear, just wait until the Senate's immigration bill passes. The number of high tech and H1B visas for legal immigrants almost doubles and staying gets easier. Businesses win by keeping wages low and not having to train in-house, while middle class jobs disappear and wages stagnate or go down. Our "IQ starved" companies and educational institutions want to increase the number of foreign workers because they can't find American citizens that "want to do the job." State Senator Warren Hatch is winking at the middle class as he is one of the main sponsors of the bill.

Doogie
South Jordan, Utah

Car Man and LDS Liberal I think you both have it right and wrong. GWB is a part of the progressive movement in this country as well as the current administration. Bigger government chokes out innovation and industry with all the regulations and inefficiencies they dream up. The stock market is manipulated and has been for the past couple of years. With all the bad news that is coming out about how the economy is really doing why would the stock market continue to go up? Hmmm could it be propaganda and market manipulation? Look at the velocity at which stocks trade currently and then tell me if there is anyone with "smart" money still in the market. Bubbles are being created by the Fed and if they don't stop printing money and catering to the too big to fail banks, the whole global financial system will implode.

Hamath
Omaha, NE

Feds printing money is one of the scariest things I've heard. It reminds me strongly of the money manipulation of the Hitler regime and lead to major hyperinflation problems.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

@ of $100.00 is 2 cents, 2% of $100.20. That's only 1 month, calculate 2% over a year. Than think that it's been going on year after year. That's why I can't afford grocery's or to get in my car and go any where. Chaos; to confine the hostages and punish the unruly.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

most of the middle class jobs lost were in manufacturing. BO's overly aggressive EPA is shutting down manufacturing in this country. And Obamacare is preventing small businesses from hiring, trying to avoid the dreaded 30 hour and 50 employee thresholds.

LDS? lib would blame bush if the neighbor's dog ran across his yard. It was barney frank who caused the housing bubble.

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