Friday, July 01, 2011

America’s Apple economy widens the winner-loser gap

That's the headline on an interesting piece in the Globe today.
The column by Chrystia Freeland looks at a study on the economic impact of the iPod. The study found that, in 2006, the dandy device produced 41,000 jobs.
But, despite Apple's California roots, 27,000 of them were outside the U.S. and 14,000 were inside.
The foreign jobs making the iPod paid an average $12,000 a year; the American jobs an average $53,000.
That's one issue. Though it's worth noting that $12,000 is pretty good pay in most of the countries where these people worked, and that if they were paid $53,000 — or if the jobs stayed in the states — an iPod would cost $950 and no one would buy them.
More striking was the winner and loser gap in America.
The study found about 6,100 of the jobs in the U.S. went to 'engineers and professionals,' paid an average $90,000.
The remaining 7,800 jobs were in retail, support services, shipping and the like — and the average wage was $28,000.
Thus the winner-loser gap.
This is a big change. A generation ago, engineers might have been earning the equivalent of $90,000. But non-engineers were working in auto plants, mines, the forest industry or officers, and making the equivalent of $40,000 to $60,000.
Those jobs have gone, or been devalued. A smaller group of workers has commanded much more of the wage pool.
There has been little discussion of whether this is desirable, or right, and what long-term effects it will have.
And an odd assumption that it represents some force of nature, rather than a series of policy choices.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"There has been little discussion of whether this is desirable, or right, and what long-term effects it will have." Really?

Overseas outsourcing is a HUGE story that politicians and business leaders fail to acknowledge - unless they are talking about autoworker wages, pensions and benefits.

A more stealthy problem which receives ZERO attention in our Canadian commodity driven economy is sending resources offshore for processing when those jobs could be done here in Canada. ie: Raw log exports? WHY? - Crude oil pumped to Texas for refining? WHY?