Mid-wage jobs a sweet spot for boosting community residents' earnings

Woman works in machine shop

The Upjohn Institute today released research from Senior Economist Timothy Bartik comparing the effects of job creation among different job types. The policy brief and full report find that creating jobs in mid-wage occupations can boost the earnings of community residents, particularly those without a bachelor’s degree.

In a typical labor market, only creating jobs in the mid-wage group, which includes many manufacturing jobs, significantly increases residents’ real earnings. Jobs created in high-wage occupations are less accessible to less-educated groups and drive up local prices. Low-wage jobs, on the other hand, don’t pay enough to boost many residents’ earnings.

The research supports a hypothesis from David Autor that midwage jobs matter most for workers with lower educational credentials.

Bartik draws highlights from his research in a Twitter thread.

The work comes on the heels of Bartik’s research, released in June, on addressing joblessness at the neighborhood and metro levels. Both received support from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Date: August 5, 2022