Middle-Skilled Workers Hard Hit in NY Area

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The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said opportunities for middle-skilled workers are drying up faster in the New York area than elsewhere in the nation.

Growth in these so-called "lower middle-skill" jobs has been weak nationwide at 20 percent compared to 101 percent in high skill, but in New York state and northern New Jersey such jobs have declined by at least 5 percent since 1980, according to the Fed's analysis.
These job losses have been primarily in machine operation and administrative support.

“No doubt, the widening wage gap and loss of job opportunities for middle-skilled workers has contributed to a rise in economic inequality and created challenges for many workers and their families,” said New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley.

At work is a trend of so-called job polarization: a combination of increasingly unequal pay and “U-shaped” job growth, concentrated at the top—among high-wage high-tech workers—and the bottom—among low-wage service workers.

The middle has been hit particularly hard because these jobs are the easiest to automate and outsource, according to Fed analysts.

The Fed held its quarterly briefing in Manhattan on Wednesday.