Protect the gains made by low-skilled workers – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise2nd November 2018
The U.S. economy is less than one year away from breaking the record for the longest expansion in the country's history. Despite the length of the recovery from the Great Recession, data from the middle two quarters of 2018, including last week’s GDP report, suggest the economy is still growing with considerable strength. It is on track to grow around 3 percent for the year, about an entire percentage point above estimates of its maximum sustainable rate of growth.
This strength is reflected in the job market, which continues to expand at a robust clip. In the last five years, the economy has added an average of 211,000 payroll jobs per month. Over the last 12 months, the average job gain has been the same. Fewer than 4 out of 100 workers are unemployed, and that ratio is expected to fall even lower in the months to come.
That’s the view from 30,000 feet. What happens when you zoom in and focus on specific groups? By some important measures, the labor market actually looks better for low-wage workers with relatively fewer skills than it does for other groups.
Over the past quarter century, the average unemployment rate for workers who did not complete high school is about 9 percent. In 2018, the average unemployment rate for this group is 5.5 percent, or about 60 percent of the long-term average.