Over the weekend I had a chance to participate as a panelist on a discussion of the American middle class. It was a good conversation despite a couple hiccups with the feed.
The panel was prompted by the news that America's middle class is no longer the world leader in income. If you don't have time to watch the full segment, here's my take on it:
There are two categories of middle class jobs in America: platform jobs (stable hours, stable wages and decent benefits) and fill-in jobs (everything else).
Middle class households need at least one platform job among however many jobs each household attains. The more and better the platform jobs, the better off the household.
America's jobs mix has changed because we've added many more fill-in jobs - particularly in the B2C service industries - than platform jobs.
As a result, the average American income is rising more slowly than in other developed countries where either A) the mix hasn't tilted so heavily toward service jobs, or B) more of what would be fill-in jobs in America are actually structured as platform jobs (think waiters in France).
Is it a problem for the American middle class? I don't know that it is... yet. But for our future health, we need thriving businesses that create and sustain platform jobs.
Thus I'll get back to work on exactly that. How about you?