In last week’s column, I painted a rather grim picture of America’s future. Although it was a fictional piece about our country about a quarter of a century further into the age of cybernation, there are some signs of the conditions that lie ahead. Let’s start with the good news.
First, unemployment may have returned to pre-recession levels of the first decade of the 21st century. Second, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the job market is expected to grow by about seven percent between now and 2025, but the growth will not be in all industries, and most of the jobs that have been added since 2008 are in low-paying fields.
On the other hand, at least one job that used to yield working-class wages — nursing — is now a well-paying occupation. However, the level of education and training needed to get into the field is much more intense, as are the responsibilities. The BLS lists nursing and accounting as being in the “double-digit” job growth category. But, it seems likely to me that an online service could replace at least some of the mundane aspects of accounting.
In a recent report, the Pew Research Center showed that many jobs that once offered at least decent pay are quickly disappearing. But, if we use the traditional means of identifying family income, even these positions seldom yield enough income for true middle-income standing. By “traditional,” I mean a father who brought home the bacon, and a mother who reared two children and managed the household. In 2016, according to Pew, it took $48,083 to support a family of four in a middle-class style; only three of the average incomes shown below reach that standard, and they are…
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