Awaiting automation with little preparation

Employment in America in February went up by 242,000 which seems healthy enough when compared with the 172,000 rise in January. However, average hourly earnings in February fell by 0.1% — so that should be put into the same pipe and smoked.  The reason is that there are a lot of part-time jobs . Similarly, compare the ‘low’ figure of 4.9% official unemployment in February and the ‘high’ jobless rate of 9.7% if you include everyone who would take a full-time job if it were available.

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected: Why political professionals are struggling to make sense of the world they created”, Peggy Noonan, a former Reagan administration speech writer, is speculating that those who are supporting Trump are feeling unprotected and are getting their own back in a world of super-sleek politicians busy with their own careers in their enclave in Washington.

I’m sure she’s right and it’s also the reason why Nigel Farage in this country, Marine Le Pen in France, and many more extreme left- and right-wing leaders elsewhere in Europe are gaining popular momentum.

All this is a reasonable explanation of what is, in effect, the side-lining of a growing inadequately educated minority in advanced countries’ populations as automation bites more deeply into the modern job structure.   Or is this the result of a natural intelligence/ability divide  opening up in the new environment?

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