The Job Market is Booming, but Are the Jobs Any Good?

November 21, 2019

Unemployment is at its lowest level in decades, but even though there are plenty of jobs, they may not be good jobs. A recent study from Cornell looked at how overall job quality has changed in recent years.

The biggest change to the job market has been the shift away from manufacturing in America. Since 1990, the country has seen about a 30 percent decline in manufacturing jobs. While this isn’t necessarily a problem if workers can transition to other jobs with similar pay and benefits, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The researchers created a job quality index based on wages and weekly hours. According to their index, just about half of all jobs were considered “low quality” in 1990. Today, that number has risen to more than 60 percent.

A separate report shows that the availability of quality jobs is even worse in Europe. Like American, Europe has also seen a booming job market lately, but many of these jobs are part-time or temporary. As of last year, 14.2 percent of all European jobs were temporary, compared to just 4 percent in America. These jobs often pay less and leave workers without benefits like insurance and pensions. This has resulted in more Europeans living with the risk of poverty. The share of employed people at risk of poverty in the eurozone has risen over the last decade. In 2007, just 7.9 percent of European workers were at risk of poverty. By 2018, that number had risen to 9.2 percent.

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