Computers and robots are taking over many types of tasks, shoving aside some workers while boosting the productivity of specialised employees, contributing to the gap.
“Technological developments have increasingly replaced low-
and mid-skilled jobs while complementing higher-skilled jobs,” said Chad
Sparber, an associate professor and chair of the economic department at
This shift is predicted to continue. About 38 percent of US jobs could be at high risk of automation by the early 2030s, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The “most-exposed” industries include retail and wholesale trade, transportation and storage, and manufacturing, with less-educated workers facing the biggest challenges.
Companies’ use of temporary and part-time employees to cut costs also may be widening the disparity, with wage growth failing to keep up with rising residential and basic-necessity expenses. As the divide grows, hardships increase for the bottom 20 percent. Affordable housing, for example, is in short supply nationwide, forcing workers to find shelter further from their jobs and endure lengthier and costlier commutes. Rental costs rose nationally by 3.9 percent in March from a year earlier, according to the Labour Department.
High-tech hubs were among the five metropolitan statistical
areas where the gap between the highest- and lowest-income households expanded
the most: two in
The fifth is
Bloomberg also calculated the change in the gap between the
super rich [the top 5 percent] and the middle class [the middle 20 percent]. It
grew by $58 800, with
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The gap even widened within the middle class, with the span between lower and upper household incomes at the 30th and 80th percentiles growing by $9 000.
“Companies are doubling down on costs cuts and streamlining
their operations,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union