If we look at Robert Reich’s chapter “The Declining Bargaining Power of the Middle”, we get some discussion about the rise of the local service economy – retail, restaurants, child care, transportation.
As Reich states, these are the jobs that can’t be transported overseas or automated (at least not yet) like the big industry jobs that have disappeared with globalization, the rise of the multinational corporation, and the trade agreements.
And the number of these types of jobs is on the rise, but they are not the answer to being employed in the sense of being able to pay the utility bills, the rent or mortgage, food, gas, and all the other expenses of life.
I quote Reich: “these jobs have tended to pay very low wages, rarely include any benefits, and provide little chance of advancement. Significantly, most of them are non-unionized. If they were, these workers would have more bargaining power with their employers (p.131)
So we have these mostly low paid jobs that make it look like we have an employed workforce in America. When no one could live on these wages independently without being propped up by some other source of income!
Robert Reich “Saving Capitalism For The Many, Not The Few (2015, p. 130).