Enghin Atalay, Phai Phongthiengtham, Sebastian Sotelo, Daniel Tannenbaum, 23 January 2020

Since the late 20th century, middle-wage occupations have shrunk as a share of total employment, while occupations requiring social and analytic tasks have grown. However, little is known about the degree to which individual occupations or job titles have changed over time and the extent to which these changes have been driven by new technologies. Analysing approximately 8.7 million job ads published in newspapers during 1940–2000, this column finds that non-routine analytic and interactive tasks in jobs increased, while manual tasks declined. The majority of changes have occurred within rather than between occupations. New technologies are linked to increased intensity of non-routine analytic job tasks.

Matias Cortes, Nir Jaimovich, Christopher Nekarda, Henry Siu, 02 October 2014

As routine tasks are increasingly automated, middle-wage jobs are becoming rarer. This column documents the changes in labour-market dynamics behind this polarisation, and investigates which workers are affected by it. Flows into middle-wage routine jobs are declining (rather than flows out increasing). Interestingly, routine cognitive workers – who tend to be educated women – are benefiting from this hollowing-out by moving up the occupational ladder.

Michael Boehm, 08 February 2014

Employment in traditional middle-class jobs has fallen sharply over the last few decades. At the same time, middle-class wages have been stagnant. This column reviews recent research on job polarisation and presents a new study that explicitly links job polarisation with the changes in workers' wages. Job polarisation has a substantial negative effect on middle-skill workers.

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