The Economic Perspective: “The New Middle Class”

Mary:  I’m Mary Walden, with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at the new middle class. Mike, there have been worries that middle class jobs are disappearing.  Jobs in manufacturing, warehousing, construction, and even some clerical positions have been downsizing as a percent of overall jobs.  This is concerning because traditionally these occupations paid a middle- income salaries.  So, will we eventually be left with only high-paying and low-paying jobs?


Mike: Summary Answer

  • Some experts say no
  • They define traditional middle paying jobs in manufacturing, construction, etc. as the “older middle paying occupations”
  • Fortunately, they say there are “newer middle paying occupations” emerging
  • These include health technicians, paralegals, top chefs, and managers in retailing and hospitality businesses
  • And while older middle paying jobs have been declining as part of the workforce, new middle paying jobs have been expanding
  • So we pay just have to adjust our perspectives and definitions
  • I’m MW


Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics