Middle skill jobs are most often defined as ones that require education or technical training beyond a high school diploma, but less than a four-year college degree. They exist across all industries, but most prominently in construction, manufacturing, and clerical work. Given the extra knowledge and skill they require, middle skill jobs typically pay more than the run-of-the-mill hourly job, and as such have long been a vehicle of upward social mobility. But several labor economists have noted a “hollowing out” of the middle skill job market in the United States over the past thirty years, pointing to declines in wages and employment in the middle of the labor market as evidence.
But that’s not the whole story.