Jobless rate at 5.7%, highest in four years

“Historically, manufacturing and construction offered workers with only a high school education the best pay, benefits and opportunities,” he said. “Troubles in these industries push ordinary workers into retailing, hospitality and other industries where pay often lags.”

But even lower-paying jobs in retail and restaurants are getting harder to find, according to the jobs report. Retail jobs have fallen by 211,000 since March 2007, and last month restaurants stopped adding workers for the first time this year.

The decline of one-time bright spots like restaurant work is a “worrying sign,” said David Madland, analyst at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank. He noted that another important bellwether of the job market - temporary employment - has been flashing warning signs all year.

“Temporary employment has now fallen for 18 of the past 19 months, the worst performance of the sector since 1990,” when the departments first started tracking temp jobs, he said. That is “alarming,” he said, because changes in temporary jobs presage changes in the broader work force, with companies typically laying off temporary workers before they start laying off their full-time staff.

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