NC State Ag Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “Forces Driving Hollowing-Out”


Mary:  This is Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at forces driving hollowing-out.  Mike, hollowing-out is a term applied to the labor market.  Simply put, it refers to the loss of many middle-paying jobs, leaving job expansion to the two ends of pay scale.   Do we know what’s causing this trend?

Mike:  Summary Answer

I’ve actually spent a good deal of time recently trying to answer this question

  1. First, in examining NC, I have found hollowing-out is almost universal – it has happened in the vast majority of NC’s regions
  2. I have also found three factors behind hollowing out
  3. First, the loss of manufacturing and construction jobs – both traditional middle paying occupations
  4. Second – worker losing those jobs largely don’t get retrained – but accept lower-paying jobs
  5. And third, in regions where higher-paying jobs have been created – like the big metros of NC, there have been an equal if not more number of lower-paying supporting jobs in personal services and the hospitality sectors
  6. I’m MW

Mary: And I’m Mary Walden for N C State Extension