Walden: A Jump in Blue Collar Wages

Mary:  I’m Mary Walden, with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at a jump in blue collar wages.  Mike, two of the major components of so-called blue-collar jobs – manufacturing and construction – really took a hit during the Great Recession.   Not only did employment drop, but so too did wages once inflation was accounted for.   Have these two key sectors turned around?


Mike: Summary Answer

  1. In NC, manufacturing lost about 100,000 jobs during the recession and has recovered one-third of them
  2. Also in NC, construction lost 80,000 jobs during the recession and has recovered around half of them
  3. But also important – wages are improving – for manufacturing up 5% each year in the last couple of years, and up 3% annually for construction
  4. Recent improvement in wages suggests tighter supplies of workers with those skills – something heard all the time from companies
  5. In the future, biggest challenge to jobs in manufacturing, especially, but perhaps also construction, will be technology – substituting for people
  6. I’m MW


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

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