How is the American workforce changing?

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The American workforce is changing in many different ways.

First, we are shifting from a manufacturing workforce to a service workforce.  That is to say, we now offer more services and produce fewer tangible goods. This is to some degree a function of the fact that it is less expensive to make goods in other countries.

Second, the workforce is changing in its demographics. Even though there is high unemployment right now, given that the birth rate in the United States is lower, there could be a shortage of workers at some point in the future, particularly when all of the baby boomers retire.

Third, the American workforce is not as well-educated as previous generations were.  We have more people who cannot read, write, or do math than in generations past.

Fourth, the American workforce is adjusting to the need to be technologically savvy, although not yet enough.  There are jobs that remain unfilled because there are not enough workers who are highly technologically skilled.

Fifth, the American workforce, because of the present unemployment situation, is more likely to be a workforce of people who are employed only part-time, with lower wages, and without benefits. As a subsidiary of that trend, people are far more likely to have more than one job.

Sixth, there is a trend today for workers to telecommute in many industries.  This was initially frowned upon by many employers, but they have learned that people can be "watched" at home and can be just as, if not more, productive.

Seventh, the American worker today changes jobs far more frequently than at any time in our history, sometimes voluntarily and sometimes involuntarily.  In times past, people often spent their entire work lives working for one company.

There are many other differences, but these are some of the major ones I have noted over the past 40 years.

minnielauren | Student

I agree with the user, speamerfam. The American workforce is changing in many ways. Surprisingly, there are many people are not educated and working in service industries getting paid minumum wage.

We do produce more services today, than in the 1950's. We were making and laboring steel, coal, and other raw materials. There were more "blue-collar" people compaired to today's standards of services. People who are used to providing these services and are not technological savvy, sometimes have problems finding jobs today.

The internet has provided many services for people. More inventions with services are being made in order to "make our lives easier" or have a faster way of completing a daily task.