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Economic Commentary

Are Service-Sector Jobs Inferior?

In recent years, U.S. service-producing industries have, on net, added jobs more rapidly than the goods-producing industries. Since the end of 1990, jobs in the service-producing sector have increased 4.1 percent overall, while goodsproducing employment has shrunk 5.6 percent. During the same period, total nonfarm employment has risen 1.9 percent. A number of commentators have used these basic statistics to paint a bleak picture: The economy is creating some new jobs and employing a few more people, but only in low-wage service positions; meanwhile, the old high-wage manufacturing jobs are disappearing.

The views authors express in Economic Commentary are theirs and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The series editor is Tasia Hane. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This paper and its data are subject to revision; please visit for updates.

Suggested Citation

Dupuy, Max, and Mark E. Schweitzer. 1994. “Are Service-Sector Jobs Inferior?” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary 2/1/1994.

This work by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International