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Work In America, 1977

The American workplace is experiencing the biggest changes since the industrial revolution. What are these changes, why are they happening and how are people responding to them?

Job Type Shifts-we have become less and less a nation that manufactures goods and increasingly a country that provides information and services.

Technology -in some ways it's has made our lives easier, but it has also created pressure to speed production and has resulted in eliminating jobs.

Global Economy-while some jobs have been created, many have been eliminated.

Productivity -Americans are more productive, yet they are working more which creates pressures on the family and our personal lives.

Job insecurity-a feeling that we are less secure in our jobs permeates the American workforce. This feeling is fueled by downsizing, jobs being shipped offshore and the increase in temporary assignments.

Corporate responsibility-what responsibilities do employers and employees have to one another, the success of the company, and the larger society?

Fastest Growing Jobs in America and What They Pay

A Closer Look at Growing Jobs

The ABC's of Downsizing and Temporary Workers

Working Today: A Glossary for People Who Work, or Know Someone Who Does

Fastest Growing Jobs, 1994-2005

Job Projected Growth

Personal and home care aids 119%

Systems analysts 92%

Computer engineers 90%

Physical therapy aides 83%

Electronic pagination systems workers 83%

Physical therapists 80%

Residential counselors 76%

Human-services workers 75%

Occupational therapists 72%

Manicurists 69%

Medical assistants 59%

Paralegals 58%

Medical records technicians 56%

Special education teachers 53%

Amusement and recreation attendants 52%

Correction officers 51%

Guards 48%


Median Weekly Earnings of Select Growing Jobs

Personal and home health care aides, $258

Systems analysts, $845

Computer engineers, $845

Physical therapy aides, $296


America's #1 Employer

The temporary agency Manpower, Inc., which rents out 767,000 temp workers each year.

A Closer Look At Jobs With Growth

The health care industry is currently the fastest growing job sector in the United States. One third of the 30 fastest growing occupations are in health care. While the total number of jobs in the US is expected to increase 14 percent between now and 2005, the demand for two occupations-personal and home health care aides, and home health aides-will double as the population gets older and as more elderly people decide to live at home. Visiting home care, which includes cleaning, cooking, and caring for people, pays about $7 an hour.

Education is growing, with jobs for preschool and kindergarten teachers expected to grow 30 percent; high school and elementary school teachers a close second, at 30 percent; and college professors, 18 percent. Special education is expected to hold the greatest increase, 50 percent by 2005.

woman with paycheckThere's some growth expected for scientists, including: chemists, 19 percent; geologists, 17 percent; meteorologists, 7 percent; and forest and conservation scientists, 18 percent. But if you're thinking about becoming a physicist or astronomer, forecasters predict a shrinking number of jobs in both fields.

America's waistline may be in for some growth, too, along with the professions of pastry chef and baker, expected to increase by 30 percent.

And if pastry is out of the question, there's always environmental clean up, which E magazine predicts business and government will spend $2 trillion on over the next decade.

Stockbrokers and financial-sales and service workers will pick up by about 35 percent. And in a related area-dealing with money-bill collector position will climb by about the same amount.

As for career paths to steer clear of, ranch hands aren't doing too well, as automation eliminates more jobs there. Printing is down about 20 percent, along with farm work, and bank teller jobs are expected to decrease about 25 percent (those ubiquitous ATMs).


(Sources: American Demographics, March, 1996; Bureau of Labor Statistics; The Record, Bergen 2/12/96; The Hispanic Times, 9/30/96; Business Wire, 11/6/96; Business Journal-Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun, 4/19/96)


It used to be called "laid off," but "downsizing" has clearly won the battle of the euphemism popularly used to describe what adds up to plain and simple job loss. What else do you need to know about downsizing?

*Nearly three-quarters of American households have had close encounter with lay-offs since 1980.

*In a New York Times poll, one in ten adults-or about 19 million people-acknowledged that a job loss in their household had precipitated a major crisis.

*While permanent lay-offs have been symptomatic of most recessions, they are now occurring in the same large numbers even during an economic recovery that has lasted five years and even at companies that are doing well.

*In a reversal from the early '80s, workers with at least some college education make up the majority of people whose jobs were eliminated, outnumbering those with no college education. And higher salaried workers-those earning at least $50,000-account for twice the share of jobs lost than they did in the 1980s.

*There's been a net increase of 27 million jobs in America since 1979, but many of these jobs are with small companies that offer fewer benefits and lower pay, including many part-time jobs. Today, downsized workers often find temporary work once performed by full-timers.

*While most people laid off 25 years ago found jobs that paid as well as their old ones, Labor Department figures show that today only about 35 percent of downsized workers end up in equally or better paying jobs.

*Average household income climbed 10 percent between 1979 and 1994, but 97 percent of the gain went to the richest 20 percent.

*Between 1979 and 1993, 454,000 public service jobs vanished.

*Since 1979, more than 43 million jobs have been eliminated in the U.S. The rate of job loss hit a peak of 3.4 million in 1992, and been about that high since.

*The divorce rate is as much as 50 percent higher in families that rely on one income where the bread-winner has lost a job and can't find an equivalent one.

*In 1983 there were 619,000 temporary jobs in the country. By 1994, that number had grown to 2.25 million; the government projects a 60 percent increase by 2005.

*The fastest growing temp jobs are in technical and professional fields, which employ 15 percent of the temporary work force.

*Across the country, temp workers are beginning to organize for better working conditions, including benefits and vacation time.

[Source: The New York Times Downsizing Series, US Department of Labor]

Livelyhood's first one-hour special, "Shift Change," aired on PBS in fall 1997. For information on how to order the show, call 510-268-WORK.

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