Search Engine Marketing, Business, and Other Service Sector Type Jobs Dominate U.S. Labor

The American economy is a “how can I help you?” not a “what can I make you?” economy. Marketing and social media, search engine marketing, retail, banking, consulting, legal, and other service sector jobs are the foundation of the modern American labor system. Although manufacturing has not disappeared completely it lives in the shadows of the service industry. Television commercials exemplify this reality all day. Nearly all television ads we view are for lawyer, health care, marketing, consulting, repair, recreation, and transportation services. What they all have in common is the “what can we do for you?” aspect. The other end of television advertising is pushing products and goods that were manufactured abroad. Most of the electronic devices, cars, household appliances, clothing, accessories, and durable goods that Americans purchase are manufactured in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

In 2010 forty-seven percent of American work opportunities were in management and business. Management and business are vague terms that include a multiplicity of jobs across the service sector spectrum. Online marketing and social media services have been one of the fastest growing business industries in America over the past ten years. The rise of internet accessibility and mobile technology has created an entirely new niche in labor and employment. Search engine marketing professionals and social media gurus did not exist in the 1990s but are incredibly widespread today.

In the nineteenth century America was mainly a manufacturing and producing country. Textile and durable good manufacturers employed a great portion of the available American labor force. Antebellum Americans produced most of the goods that they bought and used for their daily lives. Most clothing, furniture, tools, and appliances were made in the U.S.A. and manufacturing was a mainstay of the American economy. But after the Civil War the social and economic landscape started to morph. Industrial textile and agricultural machinery aided manufacturers to produce more goods quicker and with a smaller workforce. Displaced workers trekked from farms and rural communities to the cities in search of new kinds of employment. These new apartment dwellers grew into the new American middle class.

The positive trend in service sector employment was directly correlated to the rise of the American middle class. The bedrock of the service sector was middle-class employment at department stores, restaurants, cafes, hotels, grocery stores, transportation companies, and business offices. Urban immigration and the rise of a middle class led to the advent of the department stores and office buildings where most of these people worked. The urban landscape shifted as the social and economic landscape evolved. The service industry out competed the manufacturing industry by mid-twentieth century. Demand for doctors, lawyers, teachers, and other white-collar professionals was greater than the demand for miners, steel-workers and textile laborers.

Today that trend towards the service sector and away from the manufacturing sector perseveres albeit not as steadily. The American service industry is stuffed with fast food restaurants, movie theaters, brand clothing stores, shopping malls, marketing and social media providers, mobile phone and internet services, electronic stores, repair businesses, and medical and legal assistants, just to name a very few. The latest addition to the industry has been positions related to search engine marketing and marketing and social media. The world wide web is the epitome of what the service industry is all about. The internet does not construct physical products or goods. The internet provides a forum for sharing, communicating, and trading ideas, knowledge, and media.

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