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Where the jobs are

Everyone is asking, Where are the jobs? We’ve had the job growth, but we’re still not back to pre-recessionary totals in either the country or North Carolina. So, where are the best places for jobs? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden responds.

“If you look at where jobs have been increasing over the last three years — and I use three years because the job market really bottomed out in 2010 – the job market has been growing since then, although modestly. What we’re seeing is what I call a dumbbell job market.

“Now if you think of a dumbbell that you see in a gym, you’ve got a big piece on one side. You’ve got a big piece on the other side. And then you have a narrow handle in the middle. That really describes our job market in that if you look at what jobs have been created in the last three years, you see that there has been a lot of job creation at the upper end of the job market — the high paying jobs, managerial jobs, legal jobs, computer system jobs, all of those carrying very high pay.

“You also, however, have had large job increases at the lower end of the pay scale, jobs in food service, leisure and hospitality, clerical jobs. And you’ve had very modest or in some cases actually job reductions in the middle.

“This is actually something that was occurring even before the recession, and it now has picked up steam after the recession, has a lot of implications not only for people searching for jobs — the need for people to get trained beyond high school — and also obviously to income inequality.”