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EPI: LIFTING LINE-OF-BUSINESS RESTRICTIONS IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS WILL CREATE QUALITY JOBS, COUNTERING TRENDS IN DECLINING WAGES AND EMPLOYMENT

 WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Eliminating line-of-business (LOB) restrictions on the seven regional Bell companies would create 3.6 million quality jobs, and help to reverse the trend of falling wages and job opportunities for non-college educated workers -- 75 percent of the nation's work force -- according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
 In "Good Jobs at Good Wages: The Characteristics of Jobs Created by Lifting Line-of-Business Restrictions in Telecommunications," economists Jared Bernstein and Lawrence Mishel examine the characteristics of the jobs that will be created and the likely demographic composition of the new employment as a result of the permanent elimination of the LOB restrictions on the seven regional Bell companies. The study shows that absent any changes in policy, the wages and job opportunities for non- college educated workers will shrink. In contrast, the new LOB-related jobs create good jobs at good wages for the non-college educated work force, according to the report.
 Eliminating the LOB restrictions and other regulatory barriers that limit or prohibit competition among communications markets would allow Bell companies to enter sectors of the market currently closed to them -- such as long-distance telephone service, manufacturing telecommunications equipment, and in-region cable television programming -- leading to more competition and lower costs, according to the report. The LOB restrictions stem from both the 1984 Cable Act and the 1982 court decree known as the Modification of Final Judgment (MFJ) that created the seven Bell companies.
 The EPI study analyzes wages, benefits, and hours of the new jobs, and the distribution of the jobs across wage levels, occupations, education levels, gender, and race and union representation. The major findings of the report include the following:
 -- The LOB-related jobs are high-paying jobs. For example, the average level of hourly wages and benefits of the new jobs is 6.9 percent above that of the average job in 1993, with average weekly compensation (total wages and benefits) 8.7 percent higher.
 -- The higher compensation levels of the LOB-related jobs reflect an upward shift in the wage distribution. The share of new jobs paying poverty-level wages is substantially less (4.9 percentage points) than in the current job base and the share of middle and upper middle class jobs is substantially greater.
 -- Jobs created would favor blue-collar occupations such as craft workers, reversing the current labor market shifts toward low-wage service occupations. The LOB-related jobs will expand blue-collar employment by a 6.7 percentage point share, while sales and service jobs will shrink by a 7.9 percentage point share. Many of these jobs are likely to be found in the unionized sectors of the labor market.
 -- The newly created jobs would favor those with high school degrees or less. Relative to current jobs, 51.5 percent -- or 1.9 million -- of the new jobs go to those with a high-school education or less. In addition, lifting the LOB restrictions and allowing full competition in telecommunications would counteract recent adverse labor market trends by providing jobs with higher than average compensation for non-college- educated workers.
 -- The 3.6 million jobs created by the lifting of the LOB restrictions and encouraging full competition are more likely to be full-time, union jobs with a higher level of minority representation than in the current job base.
 The EPI report draws on the findings of a recent study by The WEFA Group, titled "Economic Impact of Eliminating the Line of Business Restrictions on the Bell Companies," which based its job gain analysis on lower rates for services, higher wages, greater productivity and higher job growth.
 "Lifting the LOB restrictions would result in the creation of new jobs with characteristics reminiscent of a bygone economic era. This policy change would not only create millions of jobs, it would generate the higher quality jobs that middle-class Americans have traditionally depended on to improve their living standards," say Bernstein and Mishel.
 Bernstein is an economist at the Economic Policy Institute. He is a co-author of "The State of Working America, 1992-93." Bernstein is pursuing a Doctor of Social Welfare degree at Columbia University. He specializes in the fields of income distribution, poverty and social welfare policy, and wage trends and inequality.
 Mishel is the research director of the Economic Policy Institute and the author of various EPI publications, including "The State of Working America, 1992-93 Edition" (with Bernstein), "Manufacturing Numbers: How Inaccurate Statistics Conceal U.S. Industrial Decline" and "Shortchanging Education" (with Edith Rasell). He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin and has published in a variety of academic and non-academic journals.
 The Economic Policy Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan economic think thank founded in 1986 and supported by grants from foundations, labor unions, corporations and individuals. Its founders include economic policy experts Lester Thurow, Robert Reich, Robert Kuttner, Barry Bluestone, Ray Marshall and EPI President Jeff Faux.
 To order copies of the EPI working paper, titled "Good Jobs at Good Wages: The Characteristics of Jobs Created by Lifting Line-of-Business Restrictions in Telecommunications," by Bernstein and Mishel, contact Public Interest Publications at 800-537-9359. Price is $10.
 -0- 11/29/93
 /CONTACT: Nan Gibson, 202-331-5546, or Elizabeth James, 202-331-5539, both of the Economic Policy Institute/


CO: Economic Policy Institute ST: District of Columbia IN: TLS SU: ECO

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