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Labor Markets Center Newsletter

The US labor market is tight and getting tighter. And, perhaps surprisingly, it’s tighter for blue-collar workers than for white-collar workers. The US labor force has become more educated over time, as the share of the labor force with a high school degree or less has significantly declined. However, blue-collar occupations’ share in total employment has remained almost constant since 2000. So, while the demand for blue-collar workers has been constant, the share of workers who are willing to work in those jobs has diminished. The problem is likely to get worse before it gets better. As a result, employers have a stronger incentive to automate blue-collar jobs. Hopefully that will happen fast enough to limit the damage from blue-collar labor shortages.

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