In 2015, jobs in middle-wage occupations represented less than one-fifth of our region’s employment, having declined in both relative and absolute terms since 2001. Diminishing middle-wage employment has meant increased job polarization, leaving fewer options for upward mobility for low-income workers. Many of the middle-wage jobs lost have been in occupations specific to manufacturing, which accounted for nine percent of overall jobs in 2015. Meanwhile, job numbers have been more positive for middle-wage occupations such as executive administrative assistants that spread across multiple industries.
In recent years, the majority of regional job gains have been in high-wage jobs. While the number of low-wage jobs has grown in absolute terms, the overall share has declined. Since 2001, the Bay Area has added 2.5 high-wage jobs for every low-wage job. Growth in high-wage occupations such as software developers and information system managers is a clear reflection of the tech boom. The tech sector also has supported growth in high-wage business support occupations such as accountants and human resource managers.