Thursday, April 26, 2007

Squeezing the Middle Class?

While the story beats the income inequality drum along with propagating other mythology, all is not lost when the New York Times writes an article like this
"...we’re starting to learn that the ... story, the one about instability, is more complicated. It may even end up being wrong.

The summary starts by noting that a “significant number of workers experience substantial variability in their total wage earnings,” which is certainly true. Only later do you come to the surprising part: there is the same amount of variability now that there was in the 1980s and 1990s. In journalism, this is known as burying the lead.

Manufacturing, where furloughs and layoffs have always been the norm, accounts for a much smaller part of the work force than it used to, while more stable industries, like health care, have grown. This is one reason that recessions, and the job cuts they bring, haven’t happened as often as they once did.


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