Job Polarization

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:

To see how to recode the CPS to study job polarization, refer to our pseudocode