The diverse service sector

Date posted: May 18, 2011

When people hear the term service sector, they often think of low-paying jobs. But, says N.C. State University economist Mike Walden, that’s not an accurate assessment.

“The service sector really is considered to be everything outside of manufacturing, construction, farming and mining. So, it’s a very, very diverse sector. It’s going to include many of our highest-paying jobs — for example, in the professional area and information technology and in finances.

“It’s also, however, going to include many low-paying jobs in sectors like personal services, leisure and hospitality and clerical.

“So, I think people perhaps too often, I might say, focus on the low-paying sectors of the service sector, but we do have a lot of high-paying jobs.

“So, when you really talk about the service sector and job growth area, you really have to specify what part of that sector you’re talking about. And when it comes down to it … we’ve had growth in both parts. We’ve had substantial growth in high-paying service sector jobs, but we’ve also had substantial growth in low-paying service sector jobs.”

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