Where middle-class jobs are growing, and where they aren’t

by Ryan Streeter on October 25, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Over the past three years, high-wage professions have accounted for 29% of new jobs created, while the lowest-paid jobs (under $13 an hour) have grown to encompass roughly half of all new jobs. Net worth-wise, as a recent Pew study notes, the wealthy — the top 7% — are thriving due to the rebound of the stock and bond markets; the bottom 93%, whose wealth is more tied up in their homes,  is still feeling the hangover from the cratering of housing prices in the recession.

That’s from an interesting new Joel Kotkin article in Forbes on the rise and decline of middle-class jobs in America’s metro areas. He writes:

Generally speaking mid-skilled employment is expanding the most in states with strong overall job growth, and less in high-cost, high-tax states, with the notable exception of Mississippi.

But there’s a disquieting trend here, given how we’re urbanizing as a society:

Three years since employment hit bottom, the U.S. still has 2 million fewer mid-income jobs than at the onset of the financial crisis in 2007; half of that deficit is in the largest metro areas.

But not all metro areas are the same:

The working class and  the endangered middle class may be favored topics of discussion in the deepest blue regions, but for the most part these metro areas have failed to bolster their middle-skilled labor forces. Los Angeles-Long Beach leads the league with the biggest net loss of mid-skilled jobs since 2007, down by 112,300, or 6.1%. Chicago had the second-largest numerical decline, some 102,100, or 7.6%, followed by New York, which lost 82,350 such jobs, 3.4% of its total in 2007. In contrast, notes economist Tyler Cowen, Texas has not only created the most middle-income jobs, but a remarkableone-third of all net high-wage jobs created over the past decade.

This is pretty good evidence that middle class politics and middle class reality aren’t always aligned.