Think back to the first half of the 20th century, when superstar companies of the likes of Ford, General Motors, General Electric, DuPont and Bethlehem Steel literally grew from nothing to employ hundreds of thousands of workers. These innovative market leaders, notably feted by business historians such as Alfred Chandler, pioneered new products and production techniques, achieving and sustaining ever-higher levels of manufacturing productivity. They offered higher wages to workers, lower prices to customers, and a sense of vitality and dynamism to the whole economy. In a very real sense, these superstar companies helped create a new middle class of factory workers.
Skeptics deny that that this virtuous circle is operating today. They fear that today’s tech superstars are not generating enough jobs to make up for the slow growth of jobs in the rest of the economy.
However, these fears of a digital job drought are misplaced. According to analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, high-productivity digital companies are expanding—not just on the coasts, but across much of the country. And the gains are going not just to well-educated software developers, but to mid-skilled sales people and office staff.
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