The Nature of Employment Growth, 1989-95

By Ilg, Randy E. | Monthly Labor Review, June 1996 | Go to article overview

The Nature of Employment Growth, 1989-95


Ilg, Randy E., Monthly Labor Review


The largest gains in job growth occured in the highest-paying occupations; increases also were posted in relatively low-earnings job categories and employment fell among the job categories in the middle

Although considerable job growth has occurred over the past few years, many labor market analysts have raised concerns about the quality of the employment gains. Data from the Current Population Survey clearly indicate that the increase in employment, though somewhat concentrated in relatively low-wage industries, has taken place in both relatively higher-paying and lower-paying occupations. And, while downsizing and restructuring have led to the displacement of many managers and professionals, considerable growth skill has occurred within these occupations. In fact, three-quarters of the net job growth between 1989 and 1995 occurred in the managerial and professional specialty occupations (36 and 39 percent, respectively).

This article examines the quality of employment growth, using earnings as the measure of job quality, for a group of 90 major industries and occupations. Unlike previous studies that have focused on changes in employment between two points in time, this analysis adds the dimension of a monthly time series. The findings reinforce the conclusion drawn from previous BLS research that employment growth has been greater for occupation-industry cells at the top and bottom of the earnings distribution than for those in the middle.(1)

Industry and occupation

Employment matrix. Occupational and industrial classifications often are used as proxies for job quality. Occupations or industries with high average earnings offer "good jobs" under one simplified scheme, while those with low earnings offer "bad jobs."

Assessments that have relied only upon industry or upon occupational data to portray the change in job growth over time can paint a limited, and perhaps distorted, picture. From an industry viewpoint, all of the net growth between 1989 and 1995 could be attributed to the employment change in services and retail trade--presumably low-paying industries.(2) (See table 1.) In contrast, from an occupational perspective, growth in the managerial and professional specialty groups (high-paying occupations) accounted for 75 percent of the employment change. This growth represents a vastly disproportionate increase, because managerial and professional specialty occupations made up only 26 percent of employment in 1989. Previous research indicates that occupational data crossed by industry offers a clearer understanding of the nature of job growth than do occupational or industry data alone.(3)

[TABULAR DATA 1 OMITTED]

From 1989 to 1995, total employment increased by 6.7 million, to 124.9 million. About four-fifths of that increase was in occupation-industry cells for which the median weekly earnings of wage and salary workers were above the median for all such workers ($394). Just where this growth occurred can be determined by examining the occupation-industry cells in detail. Table 2 presents the employment growth or decline for all occupation-industry cells.

[TABULAR DATA 2 OMITTED]

Because month-to-month changes in 90 series would be hard to track separately, they were ordered into a more manageable format. Individual data cells of this matrix were ranked in descending order by the median weekly earnings of all wage and salary workers in 1993.(4) The occupation-industry cells were then grouped into three categories-highest-, middle-, and lowest-earnings-that each accounted for approximately one-third of total employment in 1988.(5) An employment time series for each occupation-industry cell from January 1989 to December 1995 was developed and these were sorted into the appropriate earnings group.

Time series analysis. Further information on employment growth in the three groups is obtained from the time series presented in chart 1. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Nature of Employment Growth, 1989-95
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.