White-collar recession, blue-collar depression

Tuesday, November 2, 2010
By Paul Martin

Loss of manufacturing jobs hollows out the economy

By Howard Gold
Economists may have declared the 2007-09 recession over, yet the pain lingers.

Unemployment has hit younger and older workers, males and African-Americans especially hard. But one group is paying the biggest price: Blue-collar U.S. manufacturing workers have suffered disproportionate job losses, and their plight has big implications for all of us.

In October, the overall U.S. unemployment rate was 9.6%, while total unemployment and “underemployment” (including people who would prefer to work full-time but currently aren’t) topped 17%.

In addition, the disparity between white-collar and blue-collar unemployment is stunning: 4.5% among college graduates versus 10.8% for those with a high-school diploma, and 14.3% for those without one. Read why economist Gary Shilling thinks it’s not a real recovery on MoneyShow.com.

The likely reason is a precipitate decline in U.S.-based manufacturing employment. The United States has been losing those jobs for years, but the pace of the decline picked up steeply in the past decade and during the recession.

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