Middle-class jobs not declining because of trade, says labor economist

The Progressive Policy Institute recently posted a new paper, “The Truth About Middle Class Jobs” by Stephen J. Rose.

Rose, a prominent labor economist, points out that trade growth has not led to the loss of middle-class jobs. He states the following thesis that he supports with strong data:

It is very common to think that trade—particularly a high level of imports—leads to middle-class job loss. However, over the last 60 plus years middle-class jobs have generally become more plentiful, even though there have been trade surges and influxes of new workers into the labor market. Simply put, the alarmists across the political spectrum are wrong when it comes to the theory that trade leads to a loss of middle-class jobs.

Some of his major findings:

  • Middle-class jobs are not disappearing; they are generally being replaced by higher-paying jobs.
  • Gender has played a striking role in which workers would get higher paying jobs as trade grew.
  • Well-educated men fared well in the job market, but less-educated men “suffered an unmistakable decline in fortunes.”