Shocking News: The Economy Is Producing Good Jobs

     For years, the media have been telling Americans the economy, though growing, is not producing good jobs. From Lou Dobbs continuous rant at CNN about The War on the Middle Class to the Washington Posts E. J. Dionne claiming in a February 21 op-ed that The decline of manufacturing employment means the economy is producing fewer well-paying jobs, the media mantra has been that wage gains during this recovery have been very disappointing.

     Now Democrats have argued, though, that under the Bush administration, Americans have seen wages remain flat, also high health care costs and high heating oil and gas prices, CNNs Elaine Quijano reiterated on an April 15 CNN Live report.

     After a longtime Chicken Little media view of the labor markets, The Christian Science Monitor finally broke from the pack in an April 11 article by Mark Trumbull stating the Newest job numbers show that businesses are expanding opportunities in high-wage fields.

     Just two days earlier, however, The New York Times asserted that New technology and low-cost labor in places like China and India have put downward pressure on the wages and benefits of the average American worker.

     Whos right? Well, the Monitor used some highly-regarded economists to support its assertions: Were creating lots of all kinds of jobs, across many industries, occupations, and pay scales, says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moodys

     The Monitor even found a liberal economist one whose views the past several years have normally been quite pessimistic when hes been quoted by mainstream media representatives to offer support for its positive assertions about current labor conditions. As this recovery gets under way, professional services have begun adding jobs fairly broadly, says Jared Bernstein, an economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington.

     The Monitor referenced EPIs own indicator that tracks the weighting of higher- versus lower-paying jobs that are being added to the economy. How has this indicator been doing recently? In the past year, however, it has turned positive, meaning that the new jobs in the economy are the kind that tend to pull average wages up, not down.

     The Monitor also gave some real examples of high-paying jobs in the help-wanted category across the country:
    In St. Louis, AFB International is enlisting both technicians, paid $30,000 to $40,000, and PhD scientists, offered $80,000 to $100,000, in its quest for the perfect pet food. In Delaware, Honeywell plans to hire people at $40,000 to $100,000 to work in a data-storage center. In southern California, some of the latest openings involve working on the railroad, for $35,000 to $70,000 a year. Union Pacific plans to add 2,000 employees altogether.

     Certainly, this is all great news. Yet, you wouldnt get the same feeling about the current economic condition if you had watched the March 18 installment of CNNs In the Money when host Jack Cafferty, in his traditionally gloomy mood, proclaimed, A lot of the good paying jobs have been outsourced and sent overseas.

     But the Monitors report was far less gloomy:

Management and professional occupations are employing 1.2 million more people this month than a year ago or about 1 in 3 new jobs in America. This is the highest-paying of five broad categories tracked by the Labor Department. Not all of them are CEOs or engineers, but the median paycheck for full-time workers in this category is $937 a week, far above the US median of $651.

     The Monitor also used data directly from recent Bureau of Labor Statistics reports to counter media claims regarding manufacturing: Even the manufacturing sector, which has long offered blue-collar workers a measure of middle-class prosperity, appears to be stabilizing after a period of heavy job losses. Despite downsizing in the automotive industry, 175,000 more people are employed in production occupations today than a year ago.

     Thats not the news most media outlets have been reporting the Business & Media Institute has followed the medias insistence that Detroits decline bodes ill for the country.

     Contrary to media pessimism on the issue, The Monitor quoted one final economist with an extremely optimistic perspective: I would expect wages and compensation to increase faster, says Rea Hederman of the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington.

     Certainly, this is welcome news to American workers that is, if more journalists follow the Monitors lead and actually report it.

Noel Sheppard is an economist, business owner, and contributing writer to the Business & Media Institute. He is also contributing editor for the Media Research Centers Noel welcomes feedback at