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The region reached a 5.1 percent unemployment rate in January, according to the new unemployment data that came out Friday, and if you’ve not yet seen the graphs Rich Toscano put together on the numbers, you should click over.

But don’t stay too long over there in Nerd’s Eye View; I crave your insight on something. I’ve been hearing a bunch from people who lament the region’s bent toward low-wage job creation versus middle-class and high-paying jobs.

(We pointed out the eight-to-one ratio of low-paying jobs created to high-paying jobs created in this post Friday).

I’m, of course, open to your feedback on that discrepancy. (One reader I heard from over the weekend used his CAPS LOCK key and some fiery punctuation to share his reaction to this. He said the idea that government should incentivize the creation of higher-paying jobs reminded him of Stalin’s Five-Year Plan.)

But I know there’s another shift going on. I heard a few weeks ago from someone who called the jobs created here in the service sector “junk jobs.”

The reader believed there are hundreds of thousands who have fallen into underemployment — the types of middle-managers who’d been laid off in a company downsizing or shutdown. Sure, there’s a job out there, but is it a job that this mid-manager is interested in taking? asked this reader.

With all of the corporate mergers and downsizings and the government sectors freezes as well, there is not much left for the mid-life workers.  The thousands who have fallen into underemployment have maxed out the credit and the mortgages.  The piper is now going to be paid and paid dearly.

Let me know what you think. What will be the impact of more jobs created on the low end as folks in the middle find themselves out of work? How comfortable is the transition from white-collar to blue-collar employment? Click my name below to send me your two cents.

KELLY BENNETT

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