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December 16, 1999
Government Report: 20 Million New Jobs... and They're Good Ones
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Council of Economic Advisers and the Office of the Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Labor, have released a report entitled

20 Million Jobs: January 1993 ö November 1999. The upbeat study is pleased to say that the economy has never been stronger, having created 20,000,000 new jobs in just under 7 years. More than that, the jobs that are being created are good ones, and real wages are increasing. The report has a wealth of solid background data that should be useful for HR professionals looking for facts and figures.

What follows is the Executive Summary of the report. For the complete study results, with excellent graphs and charts, go to:


Robust Job Growth. Since January 1993, employment has grown rapidly and 20 million net new jobs have been created. Employment is at an all-time high÷a larger percent of the population is employed now than at any previous time. The unemployment rate, at 4.1 percent, is the lowest it has been in 29 years.

Broad Employment Gains. Employment gains have been strong for all major subgroups of the population. For African Americans and Hispanics, the proportions of the population with jobs rose to record highs and the unemployment rates fell to record lows. The unemployment rate for women is now lower than at any time since 1953.

More High-Quality Jobs. The 20 million jobs created since January 1993 have overwhelmingly been good jobs. Eighty-one percent of the job growth was in industry/occupation categories paying above-median wages. Sixty-five percent was in the highest-paying third of industry/occupation categories.

Real Wage Growth for All. Increases in real (inflation-adjusted) earnings were widely shared in the late 1990s. This is in sharp contrast to the 1980s, when growth in real earnings was concentrated among high-wage workers and real earnings fell for those at the lower end of the wage distribution. Strong earnings growth in the past few years produced gains in household income, and the poverty rate has fallen to its lowest level since 1979.

Sectoral Differences. Services accounted for a substantial share of job growth since January 1993, but construction, transportation, and public utilities also accounted for significant portions. Employment was growing in manufacturing until the Asian financial crisis, but it started declining in the second quarter of 1998, reducing net job creation in that sector.

Most Jobs Remain Full-Time. The majority of all jobs are full-time jobs÷there has been no increase in the proportion of jobs that are part-time or in the proportion of workers holding multiple jobs.

Declining Worker Displacement. In a dynamic economy with rapid job growth, many more jobs are being created than are being lost. And while some workers have been displaced from their jobs, job displacement rates have been on the decline and workersâ reported fear of job loss is abating.

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