To describe this historic development with the context it deserves, we start with the American economy after World War II. It was firing on all cylinders, dominant globally, confident and dynamic. It was a great time to be an American man in the workplace. Hiring was strong for white-collar jobs and factory work. Industries like autos, aviation and steel were booming.
Autor says many service-sector jobs that remain — in restaurants and retail, for example — don’t pay as well as the factory jobs that disappeared. So what can be done? Certainly more education and better education would make a difference. But that’s a profound, long-term challenge.