Stronger job gains are spreading to middle- and higher-wage
industries as employers gain confidence in the economic recovery. In July,
for the second straight month, employment growth in higher-wage industries such
as business services, construction and manufacturing outpaced increases in
low-wage sectors such as fast food outlets, a UBS analysis shows.
According to the research firm’s analysis of Labor Department
data, over the past two months, mid- and high-wage industries have added
257,000 jobs, while those with lower pay added 210,000. The development marks a
shift from last year, when many economists and worker advocates lamented that
payroll advances were concentrated in low-paying sectors, such as restaurants
and home health care.
Overall, employers added 209,000 jobs in July, the sixth
straight month of 200,000-plus gains. More jobs in higher-wage industries would
be a boon for the economy, raising average pay and bolstering consumer
In the past year, job increases in low-wage industries still
substantially exceeded those in higher-wage sectors, but the disparity is
narrowing. UBS defines low-wage industries as those whose average hourly pay is
below the 2012 U.S. median of $18.50 an hour.
In July, manufacturers added 28,000 jobs after adding 23,000
in June — the industry's two strongest hiring months of the year. Architectural
and engineering services added nearly 9,000 jobs, the biggest monthly gain
since 2006. Accounting firms have added about 45,000 jobs so far this year, up
from 10,000 in 2013.
More white-collar job candidates — from software developers
to human resource directors — are receiving multiple offers and counter-offers
from existing employers this year. The nation's ninth-largest accounting firm,
CliftonLarsonAllen, has picked up in 2014. As its manufacturing, construction,
health care and other clients grow revenue in an improving economy; they're
taking out bigger loans, which require more detailed financial statements.
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