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Trends in the Growth and Distribution of Skills in the U.S. Workplace, 1960–1985

David Howell () and Edward N. Wolff

ILR Review, 1991, vol. 44, issue 3, 486-502

Abstract: Using new measures of job skills and standard measures of education and earnings, the authors examine the effects of changing occupational and industry employment patterns on the skill composition of work between 1960 and 1985. The results show a strong upgrading of cognitive and interactive skills—combined, however, with a substantial slowdown in the rates of growth of those skills—and a declining demand for motor skills. The earnings mix of jobs did not show the same high correlation with employment growth as skill and education levels, because high-wage, low-skill jobs declined in the goods industries while low-wage jobs requiring at least moderate skill levels grew rapidly in the services.

Date: 1991
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