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The Vanishing Middle ClassPrejudice and Power in a Dual Economy$
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Peter Temin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036160

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036160.001.0001

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The Low-Wage Sector

The Low-Wage Sector

(p.27) 3 The Low-Wage Sector
The Vanishing Middle Class

Peter Temin

The MIT Press

Worker incomes stagnated in the 1970s, barely growing in the following decades. Jobs grew for low-wage occupations and for high paying jobs, but not in the middle, leading to an hour-glass job profile. Factory and good service jobs were threatened by introduction of computers that replaced workers, the dictates of finance that changed employees into subcontractors, and by the growth of foreign competition and investments. African Americans migrated north to find that good entry-level jobs were hard to find. As the Great Migration ended around 1970, Latino immigration swelled, spreading poor people from the South and Latin America to the rest of the United States.

Keywords:   Hour-glass job distribution, computers, subcontractors, foreign competition, Great Migration, Latin immigration

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