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STUDY: South Dakota Lags Region and Nation in ‘Mid Wage’ Creation

(NPN) – South Dakota lags much of the nation and its sister regional states in the creation of “mid wage” jobs, according to a new report. The state ranks 34th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in the percentage of mid wage jobs that have been created since 2010. Since 2010, according to CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International, South Dakota has a workforce of 472,376 people, created 12,811 jobs, with 19 percent or 2,476 of thosejobs considered mid wage.South Dakota’s neighbors of Wyoming (Rank 1st, 45 percent), Iowa (2nd, 37 percent) and North Dakota (3rd, 36 percent) led the nation in mid wage job growth. Minnesota (9th, 31 percent), Nebraska (21st, 26 percent) and Montana (30th, 22 percent) also out performed South Dakota according to the study.Research from the Federal Reserve shows that the share of middle-skill or middle-wage jobs in the U.S. workforce dropped from 25 percent in 1985 to just above 15 percent.  While middle-wage jobs have been on the decline for a number of years, the study from CareerBuilder and 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, health care, 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.  Data on top occupations and locations for middle-wage jobs was pulled from EMSI’s extensive labor market database of more than 90 national and state employment resources.

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 percent
    Median hourly earnings - $14.91
  • Heavy/Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers – added 118,541 jobs since
    2010, up 7 percent
    Median hourly earnings - $18.41
  • Bookkeeping,Accounting and Auditing Clerks – added
    77,162 jobs since 2010, up 4 percent
    Median hourly earnings - $17.02
  • Construction
    Laborers
     – added 69,148 jobs since
    2010, up 6 percent
    Median hourly earnings - $14.60
  • Machinists – added 49,906 jobs since 2010, up 14 percent
    Median hourly earnings - $19.01
  • Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers – added
    38,153 jobs since 2010, up 11 percent
    Median hourly earnings - $17.58
  • Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics – added
    36,229 jobs since 2010, up 5 percent
    Median hourly earnings - $16.47
  • Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers and Weighers 
    added 34,424 jobs since 2010, up 8 percent
    Median hourly earnings - $16.81
  • Medical Assistants – added 29,949 jobs since
    2010, up 5 percent
    Median hourly earnings - $14.35
  • Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators – added 21,307 jobs
    since 2010, up 17 percent
    Median hourly earnings - $17.14
  • Oil, Gas and Mining Service Unit Operators –
    added 16,690 jobs since 2010, up 38 percent
    Median hourly earnings - $20.16
According to the study, 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 percent), North Dakota (36 percent), and Michigan (35 percent). Texas (25 percent) and California (23 percent) 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 percent) and New York (13 percent) have the lowest share of new middle-wage jobs among states that have seen job increases.
Economic Modeling Specialists International, a CareerBuilder company, turns labor market data into information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people and work.

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