Wal-Mart, Not High Tech, Defines New Economy

April 17, 2002 | USA Today |

Senior Fellow David Callahan explains that the real New Economy -- the Wal-Mart economy -- is almost the exact opposite of the New Economy hyped during the 1990s.

Low-skilled jobs: In the Wal-Mart economy, the most valued productivity gains include those that automate service transactions, allowing them to be more easily completed by low-skilled, lower-paid workers. These workers are easier to find, easier to use in part-time positions without benefits and less likely to unionize. Wal-Mart's legions of low-paid, non-unionized workers (some 60% of whom don't have company-provided health insurance) are part of the fastest-growing labor-market sector: 73.9% of new jobs created between 1989 and 1999 were in such low-wage service industries. In 2000, tech jobs comprised only 5% of all U.S. jobs. Retail and services accounted for far more.