Are Middle-Class Jobs Disappearing? Employment trends suggest massive economic restructuring, demanding new approaches to career planning and skill development
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The clerical positions that have been a mainstay of the US economic picture for more than half a century may be on the endangered species list, according to one top economist.
"The economy is in a state of transition, in which the middle-class jobs that emerged after World War II have begun to decline," writes Arnold Kling in The American. "These trends serve to limit the availability of well-defined jobs. If a job can be characterized by a precise set of instructions, then that job is a candidate to be automated or outsourced to modestly educated workers in developing countries."
Kling, who served for seven years as an economist on the staff of the Federal Reserve Board, states that technology is driving job obsolescence at an unprecedented rate. He argues that workers who want to succeed in the challenging times ahead need to master the art of educating themselves and need to focus on developing the right mix of technical and communication skills.
"Forewarned is forearmed," commented Chris Twyman, CEO and founder of Zapoint, the leader in career management solutions. "To see this transition underway provides the opportunity to make serious choices about what skills to develop and what potential career paths hold the most promise."
Kling provides three scenarios for potentially mitigating the disappearance of middle-class jobs on a special edition of the Transparency Revolution audio edition on Tuesday, November 22 at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST. (Archive will be available for download after that date.) Details are available at the Transparency Revolution website.
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About Arnold Kling
Arnold Kling earned his Ph.D. in economics from MIT in 1980. He was an economist on the staff of the Federal Reserve Board from 1980-1986. From 1986-1994 he held a number of positions at Freddie Mac. In 1994, he started one of the first commercial web sites, Homefair.com, which was sold in 1999. Since then, he has been teaching high school statistics as a volunteer and has written several books, including Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care (Cato Institute); From Poverty to Prosperity (forthcoming); and The Knowledge-Power Discrepancy (forthcoming; title tentative). He is a member of the Financial Markets Working Group of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.