The middle class continues to suffer during this economic recovery.
The U.S. Labor Department typically releases employment figures for the overall economy and particular industries.
However, these data exclude the income levels associated with these opportunities – a highly critical parameter.
Since the inception of our Great Recession, middle class jobs have yet to recover – far from it – while those at the upper and lower ends are ahead of the pre-crisis period, according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce in a recent study that focused on 485 occupation groups.
The middle third of workers shed 2.8 million jobs from 2008 through 2010, while those in the top third lost 1.9 million positions and the bottom third suffered a loss of 1 million opportunities. Since 2010, the middle class gained 1.9 million jobs; the upper class gained 2.9 million positions; and lower class opportunities grew by 1.8 million.
Nearly all of the 2.9 million high wage positions – or about 2.8 million – went to individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree. The net employment result since the beginning of the recession was a loss of 900,000 middle income jobs; a gain of 1 million high wage positions; and an increase of 800,000 low wage opportunities.
This Georgetown analysis defines high wage earners as full-time employees with salaries of at least $53,000 on average. More than two-thirds of these workers receive employer-provided health insurance and slightly less than two-thirds have employer-provided retirement plans. Occupations in this sector include financial analysts, physicians, registered nurses and software developers.
Those in the bottom third earn less than $32,000 on average. Only one-third in this group have employer-provided health insurance and only one-quarter receive employer-provided retirement benefits. Middle-wage occupations have average earnings between $32,000 and $53,000, and include occupations such as automobile mechanics, truck drivers and welders.
Growing the middle class is essential for robust, long-term economic growth. Unleashing our potential in the energy sector can move us in that direction, as I described in a previous article here.
Developing molten salt reactors will enable energy independence for a virtual eternity that is safe, efficient, affordable, and carbon-free while generating a great number of middle and upper-level jobs over long periods of time.
Coupled with my tax plan, strong economic growth can become a way of life.
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