The Associated Press will launch a series exploring changes wrought by the Great Recession with reports documenting the downturn’s profound impact on jobs that support a broad middle class in the United States, Europe and other developed countries.
The series, "The Great Reset," coming five years since the start of the recession, will begin with stories appearing from Jan. 23 to 25. Five additional installments will run about six weeks apart into the fall.
Mid-skill, mid-wage jobs were decimated in the recession of 2008 and 2009, and they haven’t come back during the tepid economic recovery of the past 3½ years.
The damage was partly cyclical as the housing bust and resulting financial crisis wiped out hundreds of thousands of jobs in construction and financial services. But a much bigger force has been at work since the recession ended, AP will document.
Technology—specifically powerful software that runs computers and an array of machines and devices—is eliminating the need for many jobs throughout companies and across industries.
AP's analysis finds that the self-serve world we continue to build, embrace and shape for ourselves, with work-anywhere laptops and ever-quicker access to information and services, is threatening whole employment categories, from secretaries to travel agents.
"We set out to learn how the labor market had changed five years after the Great Recession began and found an amazing story that will keep playing out for years," said Hal Ritter, AP global business editor. "This is one story that will affect almost everyone working today, as well as those in school."
"The Great Reset" will include photos, AP interactives and video elements. The series will be available on AP Mobile in the "Big Stories" section.
In addition, AP's initial reports on the hollowing out of middle-class jobs will fuel discussion during the annual AP Davos Debate, on Jan. 25 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Moderator of the session, titled "Creating Economic Dynamism," will be AP Senior Managing Editor for U.S. News Mike Oreskes. Other panelists include, Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.; Vittorio Grilli, minister of economy and finance of Italy; Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University professor of international affairs; and Min Zhu, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund.