New York Fed president William C. Dudley says the jobs...

New York Fed president William C. Dudley says the jobs market in the region is marked by concentrations of high-wage and low-wage jobs with fewer in the middle. Earlier this year, Dudley visited Brookhaven National Lab in Upton and discussed jobs with lab officials. (March 19, 2012) Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

The New York region's employment market has become increasingly polarized, with growth concentrated in high-wage and low-wage jobs and less in the middle, a top banking regulator said Wednesday.

"Over the past three decades, job opportunities have become increasingly concentrated in high-wage/high-skill occupations and low-wage/low-skill occupations, while job opportunities for those in the middle have been shrinking," William C. Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said at a press briefing in Manhattan.

The root of the problem is technology and globalization, "which have displaced many jobs, particularly those involving routine tasks," he said.

Manufacturing, in particular, has shed jobs of middle-skilled workers, he noted. On Long Island, which Dudley toured recently, that sector had 72,300 jobs in April, down from 83,600 in April 2007, eight months before the last recession began, according to recent state Labor Department data.

Another element of the polarization is a widening wage gap and economic inequality, Dudley said. To adapt to the job-market changes, workers must upgrade their skills or acquire new ones through education or training, he said.

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