For much of the past fifty years, white-collar workers saw their earnings grow more quickly than blue-collar workers, as professions that required a college degree expanded more quickly than those that required a high school diploma or no diploma at all.
In recent months, however, we have begun to see a sharp shift back in the other direction. Tech companies, law firms and investment banks – which hired people in droves in 2020 and 2021 – have begun to downsize, laying off staff.
At the same time, employers are listing over 11 million open positions, and employment boomed in January as over half a million people found new jobs. Among the sectors that are hiring: restaurant, hotels, and manufacturing businesses. To be sure, some of these employers may prefer college or technical degrees, but amid tight labor markets, many employers are casting a wider net.
This isn’t to say that every blue-collar profession is booming. The recent rise in mortgage interest rates has taken its toll on home construction. But overall, in the current climate, workers without four-year college degrees are beginning to narrow the wage gap with white-collar workers.
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