Blue-Collar Jobs Suffer Most in Economy’s Blues

Blue collar jobs typically require less education but our economy has changed and blue collar workers must adapt. 

A blue-collar worker has been defined as a member of the working class who performs manual labor. Blue-collar work may involve skilled or unskilled, manufacturing, mining, construction, mechanical, maintenance and transportation.

Here are some stats that have blue-collar workers singing the blues:

  • In 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job.  In July of 2011, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job
  • The average amount of time that a worker stays unemployed in the United States is now over 40 weeks.
  • There are considerably fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000.
  • If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6,000.
  • In 2011, about 5 percent of all jobs in America were manufacturing jobs compared to 20 percent back in 2000. Nationwide, more than 4 million manufacturing jobs have been lost from 1998 to 2000.

The less educated, the higher the unemployment rate reaches. If a person has a college degree the unemployment rate is just over 4 percent but for high school dropouts the rate is over 14 percent.

“In 1967, among men with a high-school degree between the ages of 30 and 50, 97 percent had jobs. Today, it’s 76 percent.” – Don Peck, author of Pinched .

Gone are the days when a high school degree was sufficient.

“There are more job requirements than there used to be and a number of employers will only hire people with degrees in special programs. They expect them to come in at a much higher level than they used to. Gone are the days when a high school degree was sufficient.” Patricia McKeown, president of Bellingham Technical College (BTC).

The following Reuters 2010 chart shows the level of unemployment broken down by the level of education.

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Written by Habib

In my 35+ years in marketing I’ve been fortunate to represent many great companies that represent the values shared by blue-collar workers in many facets of life. Companies like Georgia Boot, Cracker Barrel, Shoney’s, Winner Boats, Red Man, Ebonite Bowling Balls and Lehigh Footwear, among others. In 1998, I started Locomotion Creative, a brand marketing and design company in Nashville, TN. We work for great companies like Tractor Supply Company, Skeeter Boats and Lowe’s.

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