Over the past three decades, the share of middle-skill jobs in the United States has fallen sharply. Middle-skill jobs are those in which workers primarily perform routine tasks that are procedural and repetitive. The decline in the employment share of middle-skill jobs has been associated with a number of sweeping changes affecting the economy, including advancement of technology, outsourcing of jobs overseas, and contractions that have occurred in manufacturing. As the share of middle-skill jobs has shrunk, the share of high-skill jobs has grown, and that trend has drawn considerable attention. Less well known is the fact that the share of low-skill jobs has also risen. This employment phenomenon where job opportunities have shifted away from middle-skill jobs toward high- and low-skill jobs is called “job polarization.” (From Tuzemen and Willis, 2013)
For more reading on the work using the CPS to study job polarization see:
- What is Behind the Recent Increase in Labor Force Participation? - Didem Tuzemen and Jonathan L. Willis, 2016
- Opportunity Knocks: Improved Matching of Jobs and Workers - Didem Tuzemen and Jonathan L. Willis, 2015
- The Vanishing Middle: Job Polarization and Workers' Response to the Decline in Middle-Skill Jobs - Didem Tuzemen and Jonathan L. Willis, 2013
- The Polarization of Job Opportunities in the U.S. Labor Market: Implications for Employment and Earnings - David H. Autor, 2010
- The Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market - David H. Autor, Lawrence F. Katz, and Melissa S. Kearney, 2006
To see how to recode the CPS to study job polarization, refer to our pseudocode.