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In a recent Forbes article, contributor Joel Kotkin examined the phenomenon of disappearing middle-wage jobs. (Kotkin uses "middle-income" and "mid-skilled" jobs interchangeably, because, he says, "research suggests pay is a reasonable proxy for skill.")
"Mid-skilled jobs in areas such as manufacturing, construction, and office administration -- a category that pays between $14 and $21 an hour -- can provide a decent standard of living, particularly if one has a spouse who also works, and even more so if a family lives in a relatively low-cost area," writes Kotkin. "But mid-skilled employment is in secular decline, falling from 25 percent of the workforce in 1985 to barely 15 percent today. This is one reason why middle- and working-class incomes remain stagnant, well below pre-recession levels."
Some cities, however, are bucking this trend. Forbes lists eight metro areas, in states like Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Tennessee, that are creating middle-income jobs at a higher rate than they did pre-recession. The clear winner in this list is Texas, which boasts the top four middle-income-job creating cities:
1. Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX
Change From 2007: +7.6 percent
Employers Include: Dell, Inc.; International Business Machines (IBM) Corp.; Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.
2. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
Change From 2007: +7.4 percent
Employers Include: Schlumberger; Shell Oil Company; National Oilwell Varco
3. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
Change From 2007: +3.4 percent
Employers Include: Usaa Insurance; U.S. Air Force (USAF); Rackspace, US Inc.
4. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
Change From 2007: +3.1 percent
Employers Include: Texas Instruments, Inc.; University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMCC)
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