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Creating jobs vs. creating good jobs

A man walks by a "now hiring" sign in the window of a fast food restaurant in New York City.

Sarah Gardner:Thanks for joining us and Happy Labor Day. Which, of course, is not so happy for the millions of Americans looking for work. Jobs and the economy are the dominant theme at the political conventions and this Friday the Labor Department comes out with a much-anticipated employment report.

As Marketplace's Mark Garrison reports from New York, even if that report shows we've created
more new jobs than expected, they're probably not the kind that buy a ticket to the good life.


Mark Garrison: On Friday morning, when we get the latest unemployment rate, we’ll also hear a number, probably around 125,000, representing how many new jobs were created in August. But just where are all those newborn jobs?

David Autor: Food service, janitorial and cleaning services, security.

MIT labor economist David Autor says it’s tough when so many new jobs are in areas like these.

Autor: They’re numerous, but they don’t tend to be highly paid. They don’t have a lot of job security.

Wells Fargo economist Richard DeKaser says lowering the unemployment rate is vital for the economy, and low-skilled work is part of that. But higher-paying jobs can have higher impact, because extra cash in workers’ pockets strengthens buying power.

Richard DeKaser: That greater spending will find its way into the economy and in turn, ultimately create some greater job growth.

So when you hear all the Friday news reports about job quantity, don’t forget that it’s also going to take job quality to get the economy back to health.

In New York, I'm Mark Garrison for Marketplace.

About the author

Mark Garrison is a reporter and substitute host for Marketplace, based in New York.

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