Here’s a complex, but really interesting view of the changing U.S. labor market:
There’s a ton of information here.
Bluer is more jobs, while redder is fewer jobs. The 6 recessions of the last 40 years really stand out (although it’s still tough to separate 1980 from 1981-2 recessions). This chart also emphasizes that in terms of job losses, the Great Recession was pretty bad (red). You can also see the pervasively weak job growth of this expansion by the whiteness on the right hand side.
The “wedges” going left to right show the relative size of different industries: professional and business services, and healthcare and education are now the largest. Most of that is from strong growth through the 80’s and 90’s — although relatively speaking, growth is currently strong in professional and business services. Manufacturing has, of course, declined.
Going top to bottom shows industries by the average wage. Manufacturing (two categories actually) and construction are not on the top; but they are the ones closest to the top that have seen the biggest declines. And food service has definitely grown, but it’s pretty clear that the story that our economy is dominated by lowly paid burger flippers is an urban myth.
This was drawn from “Slowing Job Growth Tests Economy” in the April 3 issue of The Wall Street Journal.
If you like this sort of thing, you should definitely click through the linked image in the article entitled “Job Sectors: Winners and Losers”, which takes you to a page with several more interactive charts. Very cool.