America's economy has undergone a gradual but significant change in the past 50 years: We're no longer an economy of manufacturers; instead we're an economy of service. That change has moved Americans from factories into offices, and has drastically changed the amount of money we spend on the production of food and goods.
In 1947, 42 percent of what we spent as consumers went to food and clothing. By 2007, that was down to 16 percent, said Stephen J. Rose, a research professor at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
"That's a strong indication of technological change," he said. "You can produce what you want first -- food and clothing -- more cheaply. That opens up the ability to produce other things -- gadgets -- the things we all like to have in this economy."
Rose will join The Daily Circuit Thursday to talk about the country's service economy.
We've always heard that the loss of manufacturing is bad, but what if the shift to a new service economy is not only inevitable, but good? We'll look at how a service economy may be creating a better quality of life for everyone - but only if you have an education.
"You've got to learn skills," said Jordan Weissman, an associate editor for The Atlantic. "If you want to work in a factory in the future in this country you're going to have to be very highly educated."
Weissman will also join the discussion Thursday.
Americans don't fully understand the definition of a service job in our economy.