Studs Terkel wrote of the dignity and value of blue collar, manual labor and direct care jobs, in … [+] such books as Working and Division Street. In 2023, these jobs are making a comeback. Bettmann Archive(Blue collar, manual labor and care jobs, once considered the past, are making a comeback as we enter 2023, and employers cannot find enough workers. How can these jobs be strengthened, and worker shortages addressed.)
Good Jobs, Bad Jobs, No Jobs, is the title of a 1979 book by Columbia University professor, Eli Ginzberg, one of the leading proponents of what was then called “manpower policy”—now “workforce policy”. The book, as do Ginzberg’s other writings, reflects the confident establishment liberalism of the time: manual labor would be replaced by the “thinking for a living” and the knowledge economy; low paid “bad jobs” would be phased out in favor of stable and well paid “good jobs”; government spending on higher education and human capital programs would enable lower wage workforces to advance.
The four decades since have shown Ginzberg and other liberal policymakers to be wrong on nearly all of their labor market predictions and policy approaches. But their mistakes and hubris are a good starting point and cautionary tale for 2023, as layoffs and hiring freezes hit the knowledge economy; blue collar, manual labor and care jobs make a comeback; and employers scramble to meet worker shortages amidst continued low labor force participation rates.
Economist Gad Levanon has studied worker shortages …