A good run for unskilled workers

The unemployment gap between skilled and unskilled workers has been shrinking. In fact, the unemployment rate in Nov. dropped for those without a high school diploma and high school dropouts, and edged higher for people who were more educated.
The recovery is consistently helping less-educated workers find jobs, but cracks are beginning to show in industries like manufacturing, which are likely to hire them. Per the latest reading of the ISM manufacturing index, manufacturing activity slowed to a two-year low, thanks to softening demand.
The unemployment rate for those 25 and older without a high school diploma is holding near historic lows, while unemployment hit 3.5% in Nov. for high school graduates — the lowest since 2000.
Job growth was faster in low wage industries and slower in high wage industries, giving a boost to less skilled workers, William Spriggs, AFL-CIO's chief economist, points out.
  • The tightest labor market since 1969 is forcing companies to consider workers they may have overlooked when the unemployed pool provided more options. The forgotten job seekers — with lower levels of education — are benefiting from companies' hunger for labor, as Axios Future Editor Steve Levine notes.
  • Walt Disney and Yum Brands, for instance are offering upfront college tuition for their less-educated employees, "reversing the norm that requires workers to get the degree before launching a career," the Wall Street Journal reports.
Today's jobs report is expected to show 180,000 new jobs in December and the unemployment rate holding at 3.7%, per FactSet. (Yesterday's ADP employment report came in at 271,000 private sector jobs vs an expectation of 178,000.)