CareerBuilder and EMSI Study Reveals Which Middle-Wage Jobs Have Survived, and the States That Are Fostering Them
PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Oct. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Research from the Federal Reserve shows that the share of middle-skill or middle-wage jobs in the U.S. workforce has dropped from 25 percent in 1985 to just above 15 percent today.  While middle-wage jobs have been on the decline for a number of years, a new study from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) shows that there are various fields and states where these positions are thriving. 

"Middle-wage positions sustained heavier hits during the recession than other wage groups," said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder.  "This is further indication of a hollowing effect economists have warned about, where middle-wage jobs are thinning out - creating a greater concentration of either high-wage or low-wage positions.  While this trend has become more pronounced in the last decade – and has broader implications for the U.S. economy - there are still areas of manufacturing, healthcare, energy and other fields where employment for middle-wage workers is stable and growing at a healthy pace." 

For the purpose of this study, CareerBuilder and EMSI defined middle-wage jobs as those that pay between $13.84 and $21.13 per hour.1  Data on top occupations and locations for middle-wage jobs was pulled from EMSI's extensive labor market database of over 90 national and state employment resources. 2

Middle-Wage Occupations on the Rise
One quarter (25 percent) of all new jobs added in the U.S. since 2010 fall in the middle-wage range, trailing the share of both high-wage jobs (29 percent) and low-wage jobs (46 percent). While automation, offshoring and other factors are driving the declining share of middle-wage jobs, a variety of occupations in this segment have performed well post-recession.  Most of these occupations typically require on-the-job training, work experience, or short-term certificates and degrees that community colleges specialize in.

  • Customer Service Representatives – added 132,690 jobs since 2010, up 6%
    Median hourly earnings - $14.91
  • Heavy/Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers – added 118,541 jobs since 2010, up 7%
    Median hourly earnings - $18.41
  • Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks – added 77,162 jobs since 2010, up 4%
    Median hourly earnings - $17.02
  • Construction Laborers – added 69,148 jobs since 2010, up 6%
    Median hourly earnings - $14.60
  • Machinists – added 49,906 jobs since 2010, up 14%
    Median hourly earnings - $19.01
  • Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers – added 38,153 jobs since 2010, up 11%
    Median hourly earnings - $17.58
  • Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics – added 36,229 jobs since 2010, up 5%
    Median hourly earnings - $16.47
  • Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers and Weighers – added 34,424 jobs since 2010, up 8%
    Median hourly earnings - $16.81
  • Medical Assistants – added 29,949 jobs since 2010, up 5%
    Median hourly earnings - $14.35
  • Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators – added 21,307 jobs since 2010, up 17%
    Median hourly earnings - $17.14
  • Oil, Gas and Mining Service Unit Operators – added 16,690 jobs since 2010, up 38%
    Median hourly earnings - $20.16

States Fostering Middle-Wage Growth
Wyoming leads the nation in the percentage of middle-wage jobs added in a state post-recession.  Forty-five percent of new jobs that were created in Wyoming since 2010 have been middle-wage, well ahead of other high-performing states: Iowa (37%), North Dakota (36%), and Michigan (35%).

Texas (25%) and California (23%) have created the largest total number of new middle-wage jobs in the nation, but they're in the middle of the pack in terms of the share of all new jobs.

At the bottom, Rhode Island is the only state that's lost middle-wage jobs over the last few years. Meanwhile, Mississippi (10%) and New York (13%) have the lowest share of new middle-wage jobs among states that have seen job increases.

For a more detailed analysis, go to

1 Definition from the National Employment Law Project

2EMSI data is collected from more than 90 federal and state sources, such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and state labor departments.  EMSI removes suppressions often found in publicly available data and includes proprietors, creating a complete picture of the workforce.

About EMSI
Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., a CareerBuilder company, turns labor market data into useful information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people, and work. Using sound economic principles and good data, we build user-friendly services that help educational institutions, workforce planners, and regional developers build a better workforce and improve the economic conditions in their regions. For more information, visit

About CareerBuilder®
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract great talent. Its online career site,®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 50 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world's top employers, providing resources for everything from labor market and compensation intelligence to talent networks and other recruitment solutions. More than 10,000 national and niche sites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder's proprietary job search technology. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit

Media Contact
Jennifer Grasz

SOURCE CareerBuilder