What are the forces moving the Minnesota economy? Adam Belz tries to identify the trends and show the connections between Minnesota and the larger U.S. and global economies. You can connect with him on Twitter: @adambelz

Report: Post-recession, jobs don't pay what they used to

Posted by: Adam Belz under Business trends, Economics Updated: August 12, 2014 - 12:42 PM

In general, the jobs lost in the recession paid better than the jobs that have been created in the recovery and economic expansion since.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors released a report saying as much on Monday. It's not exactly news, but it's another confirmation of, as John Schmid at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel puts it, "why the recovery lacks the feel-good quality of previous rebounds."

Schmid did a yeoman's job distilling and summarizing the findings:

...the average annual wage of jobs lost in 2008-'09 was $61,637, while the average wage of jobs gained through the second quarter of 2014 equaled $47,171.

The pre-recession/post-recession wage gap of 23% goes a long way toward explaining why the recovery lacks the feel-good quality of previous rebounds. The disparity implies that national income collectively fell by $93 billion, according to the study.

The crux of the issue is that manufacturing and construction lost a lot of jobs in the recession, but hotels, restaurants, retail and health care have been doing much of the hiring in the recovery. This chart from the report pretty much tells the story:

One other thing worth mentioning. Look at the average annual wages for professional, scientific and technical jobs. The pay is better than any of the other employment sectors listed, and it's one of the top five gainers in the past six years.

This is true in Minnesota too, where Minneapolis has had a professional jobs boom, and signals that there's still a premium for skill in the U.S. job market. However, more than any other sector, the bullish wage trend for professional jobs highlights the growing gap between skilled workers and those with lesser skills.


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