In recent decades, technological change and the global integration it enables have been rapidly reshaping the U.S. economy. These forces have improved the potential of some individuals to thrive, but diminished prospects for others striving to reach or maintain their place in the American middle class. Amid these changes, how and where will individuals find durable sources of good jobs?
Certainly, education is an important part of the picture, particularly for enabling upward mobility among young people. But tens of millions of adults who are already a critical part of the American workforce also deserve a chance to obtain better jobs, with higher pay and benefits.
This report shows that the industrial structure and growth of metropolitan economies—in particular, whether they provide sufficient numbers of jobs in opportunity industries—matters greatly for workers’ ability to get ahead economically. It examines the presence of occupations and industries in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas that either currently or over time provide workers access to stable middle-class wages and benefits, particularly for the 38 million prime-age workers without a bachelor’s degree.
Interactive by Alec Friedhoff