I believe you have a change in income levels and business. In the tech boom you had a number of start-ups that resulted in many people making mid six figures. Those days are gone. Mass is reporting employment levels equal to those prior to the great recession yet many people I speak to are making much less than before. In a Boston Globe article on July 8, 2015 “Weekly earnings last year, in fields from food preparation to management, were below 2007 levels when adjusted for inflation, according to an analysis of Labor Department and Census Bureau data by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Of the 22 occupations tracked by the Labor Department, 17 did not reach pre-recession pay levels”
My personal view is that many professionals are making less. With fewer middle market companies existing today than ten years ago the economy has less need for professional services from audits to executive search. We have seen a period of consolidation. Fewer local auto dealers to jumbo dealerships with multiple brands under one umbrella. The big eight audit firms is down to four, law firms are consolidating at high rate, banks are consolidating, hospitals are consolidating and drug companies are consolidating. This consolidation eliminates a number of high paying jobs that ripples through the economy. We are left with a shrinking top 2 – 4% of earners being replaced with a larger middle class. Yes they are employed but the opportunity to create wealth is dwindling for the masses.
I see it as a change in jobs from multiple “C” suite jobs to just a few. Today’s startups create an app or drug and sell to a strategic creating wealth for VC firms and a few individuals but no mushrooming effect. Income is down from CPAs to investment bankers. The number of large CPA firms and law firms is down. The number of jobs in bio labs is up, app developers are in demand, and service jobs aplenty. Will these types of jobs drive the US economy yes and no. The government data might look good as the masses are employed but the life style of many continues to tumble down as the tier one of wealthy increases but tier 2 and 3 continues to slide off the cliff.