Reuters

Which metros have the largest share of service class workers?

The service class is the largest class of all, employing more than 45 percent of American workers. Its members work in home health and elder care, they are lawn service providers, taxi drivers, and retail salespeople, food handlers and waiters, and people who perform routine clerical and administrative functions.

(Click the map for a larger image)

The map above charts the service class across U.S. metros, while the table below lists the top twenty. Las Vegas, in sixth place, is the only large metro to make the list. Smaller tourist destinations continue to top the list as they did in the original 1999 rankings. Myrtle Beach is first, with more than two-thirds of its jobs in the service class. It's followed by Ocean City and Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Punta Gorda, Florida, all with more than 60 percent. Florida's Naples, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, and Sebastian-Vero Beach, as well as Barnstable, Massachusetts (Cape Cod) also make the list. But non-tourist destinations like Laredo, Brownsville, and McAllen, Texas, are present as well. Some of these communities not only have a large share of low-wage low-skilled jobs, but number among the least resilient and most vulnerable economies anywhere.

  Metro Service Class Share
1. Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC 64.9%
2. Ocean City, NJ 62.7%
3. Atlantic City, NJ 62.0%
4. Punta Gorda, FL 60.9%
5. Naples-Marco Island, FL 59.3%
6. Las Vegas-Paradise, NV 59.1%
7. Laredo, TX 58.3%
8. Brownsville-Harlingen, TX 57.9%
9. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 57.3%
10. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL 57.2%
11. Ocala, FL 57.1%
12. Missoula, MT 56.3%
13. Barnstable Town, MA 56.1%
14.  Dover, DE 55.9%
15. Panama City-Lynn Haven, FL 55.7%
16. Pittsfield, MA 55.7%
17. McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr, TX 55.6%
18. Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL  55.3%
19. Norwich-New London, CT 55.0%
20. Jacksonville, NC 54.8%

 

The service class is both the largest (60 million workers) and the least paid of America’s three major social classes. The only way to improve its members’ prospects is to upgrade the work they perform—to make it more creative and hence more productive and remunerative. As I have written, that is the key task of a jobs strategy today, as well as being required to spur the demand required for broader economic recovery.

Ten years ago, in the original edition of The Rise of the Creative Class, I suggested that the new geography of class might be giving rise to a new form of socioeconomic segregation that is different from racial segregation or the old schism between central city and suburb, and perhaps even more threatening to national unity. Over the past decade and especially since the economic meltdown of 2008, this trend has only become more pronounced.

This post is an abridged and revised excerpt of material from The Rise of the Creative Class, Revisited, out this month from Basic Books.

Top image: Reuters/Chris Keane

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. The Salk Institute, near San Diego
    Design

    This Is Your Brain on Architecture

    In her new book, Sarah Williams Goldhagen presents scientific evidence for why some buildings delight us and others—too many of them—disappoint.

  2. Uber drivers sit in their cars waiting for passengers.
    Equity

    What Uber Drivers Say About Uber

    Researchers conducted in-depth interviews and discovered a lot about the pitfalls of working in the rideshare business.

  3. Life

    Say Goodbye to Spain's Glorious Three-Hour Lunch Break

    Catalonia plans to shorten work hours—but don’t call it the end of the siesta.

  4. Transportation

    5 Reasons to Be Wary of Elon Musk's Hyperloop

    High-speed vactrains might be the ticket for a Martian colony. As a practical transit investment for Earth, the technology has a long way to go.

  5. Environment

    Let's All Swim in the Once-Filthy Canals of Paris

    Unlike many cities, the French capital has made good on its promise to re-open urban waterways to bathers. How did they do it?