Years after the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008, jobs are returning. In fact, according to estimates, unemployment is around 4 percent in Maryland, although the government-based unemployment numbers don’t take into account several factors, including those who gave up looking for work or who had to take part-time employment when they had been working full-time in the past. Still, the economy has improved, but in Maryland, the numbers don’t tell the entire story.
One of the key points to focus on is that many of the manufacturing jobs lost during the Great Recession have not returned. Instead, in their place, has been a significant boost in service-oriented jobs, such as casino workers, health care, and home care services. These are consumer driven jobs and while it is something to celebrate to reduce unemployment, manufacturing is often what drives economies.
The Baltimore Sun reports in the article, Jobs in services, computers, health care biggest gainers in Maryland since the Great Recession, written by Lorraine Mirabella:
“A look at job and wage growth in some key occupation groups offers a glimpse at how the state’s labor market has changed since 2008.
Bureau of Labor Statistics data compiled by the Regional Economic Studies Institute at Towson University shows occupations with the strongest growth since the recession include jobs in personal care and services — such as at salons and casinos — and in computer, math and legal fields. Health care and business and financial operations fill out the top five occupation groups that have gained jobs during the recovery. The data compares 2008, when the recession struck, with 2016.”
Jobs that require a high school diploma or GED saw wages increase since 2008 by just about 12 percent, while wages for higher skill jobs that require advanced degrees increased by 17 percent. This means the services industry with lower skilled workers hasn’t enjoyed the same kind of boost that other sectors has, and that’s due in part to employers’ wanting to focus on more skilled workers to boost productivity.
In home health care is one of those industries that has been grappling with low wages and struggling to retain workers, even though it is the number one job creator in the country at the moment. While unemployment is down, wages in many sectors -including home health care- hasn’t enjoyed any benefit from a stronger economy, but what may be missed with this type of ‘recovery’ is without manufacturing jobs, a consumer-oriented economy is more vulnerable to minor fluctuations in the overall economy.
More home care job openings help to reduce unemployment, and as demand for these services increase, there will be even more job opportunities, but low wages continue to plague the industry and offer limited benefit for the economy as a whole.
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