Do You Have A Middle-wage Job? And If You Do, What Does That Mean?

medical_peopleDo you make between $13.84 and $21.13 an hour?  Then, in case you weren’t aware, you have a middle-wage job, as defined by the National Employment Law Project.  And depending on the industry you are in, there could be some good news.

There is, however, some not so good news.  According to new research from the Federal Reserve, the share of middle-wage jobs in the workforce has dropped from 25% in 1985 to just above 15% in October 2013 due to automation, off shoring and the fact that middle-wage jobs sustained much deeper cuts during the 2008-2009 recessions.

Another factor contributing to this decline is the economic whirlwind many American’s who held these middle-wage positions found themselves in during the early 2000’s.  Between jobs being outsourced and/or cut due to hard economic times, the mortgage crisis which left many of American’s with little to no value in their real estate and increasing healthcare costs cutting more and more into the weekly paycheck (97% increase in premiums since 2002, according to Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust), many were out of work and forced to either go on unemployment or take minimum wage jobs.

There is, however, good news.  According to several reports released in the last 18 months, there are certain industries where the middle-wage job market is showing signs of growth.

According to the Employment Projections for 2010-2020 released in February of 2012 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide the health care and social assistance sector is projected to gain the most jobs (5.6 million) followed by professional and business services (3.8 million) between 2010 and 2020.

The  Boston-Cambridge-Quincy Metropolitan Division, as defined by the BLS, made up 70% of the areas workforce and gained 48,600 jobs from July 2012-July 2013, accounting for 82%of the areas growth. Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that the annual gain in local jobs was the largest since 2001 when 62,400 jobs were added. Education and health services and professional and business services accounted for over half of the employment gain from July 2012-2013.  Education and health services is the largest industry in the Boston area and gained 17,400 jobs resulting in a 3.5 % growth rate, which was above the national average of 1.7%.

The October 17, 2013 Staffing Industry Analysts’  Healthcare Staffing Report noted that the occupation of Medical Assistant is one of the middle-wage jobs on the rise.  The number of medical assistant jobs rose by 29,949 from 2010, an increase of 5%.  According to the report, other middle-wage positions on the increase include customer service reps, bookkeeping clerks, and other construction-based positions.

The staffing consultants at KNF&T are seeing an increase in both the demand from health care clients for medical assistants and in the number candidates applying for these openings.  As the demand for medical assistants increases, so do the standards and requirements from the hiring institutions.

Chip Bergstrom, Vice President of Enrollment and Marketing for Bay State College in Boston, is seeing an increase in enrollment for Bay State’s allied health programs.   “We are seeing a significant number of applicants to, most notably, our Medical Assisting program.  Our program is attractive to high school seniors seeking employment in area hospitals and medical centers primarily because these types of facilities want higher credentialed medical assistants.  In other words, they want applicants with a college degree, not just a certificate”.

RESOURCES:

For more information regarding the BLS Employment Projection report, please visit their website at www.bls.gov/emp.

For more information on KNF&T Staffing Resources, how to submit your resume or to speak with a Staffing Consultant, please visit our website at www.knft.com.

For more information on Bay State College and their allied health programs, please visit their website at www.bsc.edu.