Showing posts with label Median Income. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Median Income. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Elise Gould on Why America’s Workers Need Faster Wage Growth

In the previous post, see here, Matias shared an EPI video on the need for significant wage growth to curb inequality, specifically starting with raising the minimum wage. As a follow up, below is from a briefing paper by EPI economist Elise Gould.

By Elise Gould
The last year has been a poor one for American workers’ wages. Comparing the first half of 2014 with the first half of 2013, real (inflation-adjusted) hourly wages fell for workers in nearly every decile—even for those with a bachelor’s or advanced degree. Of course, this is not a new story. Comparing the first half of 2014 with the first half of 2007 (the last period of reasonable labor market health before the Great Recession), hourly wages for the vast majority of American workers have been flat or falling. And even since 1979, the vast majority of American workers have seen their hourly wages stagnate or decline—even though decades of consistent gains in economy-wide productivity have provided ample room for wage growth. The poor performance of American workers’ wages in recent decades—particularly their failure to grow at anywhere near the pace of overall productivity—is the country’s central economic challenge. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a more important economic development in recent decades. It is at the root of the large rise in overall income inequality that has attracted so much attention in recent years. A range of other economic challenges—reducing poverty, increasing mobility, and spurring a more complete recovery from the Great Recession—also rely largely on boosting hourly wage growth for the vast majority.
Read rest here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Per Fed, American Median Wealth Plunged By 40 percent From 2007 to 2010

The Federal Reserve has confirmed that the median net worth of families plunged by 40 percent in just three years, from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010. That is, the average American family wealth is roughly on par with what it was in 1992. According to the Washington Post:
"The recent recession wiped out nearly two decades of Americans’ wealth, according to government data released Monday, with ­middle-class families bearing the brunt of the decline. The data represent one of the most detailed looks at how the economic downturn altered the landscape of family finance. Over a span of three years, Americans watched progress that took almost a generation to accumulate evaporate. The promise of retirement built on the inevitable rise of the stock market proved illusory for most. Homeownership, once heralded as a pathway to wealth, became an albatross. The findings underscore the depth of the wounds of the financial crisis and how far many families remain from healing. If the recession set Americans back 20 years, economists say, the road forward is sure to be a long one. And so far, the country has seen only a halting recovery."
 Read rest here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s 'Richest'

While the American rentier class is outpacing global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger income raises over the last three decades. Mind you, while the report suggests that the majority of Americans made more than their European counterparts thirty years ago, it must be noted noted that their ancestral cousins have long enjoyed the extensive benefits & security of a much stronger well-established welfare-state (though significantly diminished from recent neoliberalization, before & after the crisis of the Euro).
The numbers, based on surveys conducted over the past 35 years, offer some of the most detailed publicly available comparisons for different income groups in different countries over time. They suggest that most American families are paying a steep price for high and rising income inequality. Although economic growth in the United States continues to be as strong as in many other countries, or stronger, a small percentage of American households is fully benefiting from it. Median income in Canada pulled into a tie with median United States income in 2010 and has most likely surpassed it since then. Median incomes in Western European countries still trail those in the United States, but the gap in several — including Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden — is much smaller than it was a decade ago. 
Read rest here

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

US Income Growth Has Stalled for Most Americans


The US Census released new income data, which revealed more evidence of the widening income gap between the rich and poor, prolonging the trend of the last 40 years.

See more data here and here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Income Grew More When It Grew More Equally


Note: The light blue is the average annual growth rate during the earlier time period, and the dark blue is the average annual growth rate during the later time period. For each pair of bars represents a different income quintile.

Source: Economic Policy Institute

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The end of the New Deal as we know it?

So it seems that Obama is willing to play ball with Republicans on the debt-ceiling issue.  Meaning cut Medicare and Social Security in exchange of an increase in the debt limit, increasing planned cuts for the next ten years from somewhere around two to closer to four trillion dollars.  This was reported by the Washington Post, and seems to be in accordance with, not just Obama’s politics, but of the mainstream democrats since Carter and including Clinton, who notoriously ended welfare as we knew it.

It’s incredible that Obama would cave without putting a fight (he says that the WaPo story is overhyped apparently, but suggests that Social Security should be a means tested program!).  This basically implies that the long fight that started with Reagan’s presidency to dismantle the basic achievements of the New Deal will finally succeed under a democratic presidency.  But, on the other hand, it is part of the democratic move to the right, at least on economic issues, since Carter.


The graph shows the rate of growth of median income since 1948.  The average rate of growth until 1979, before the Volcker shock, was 2.4 per cent.  Since the Reagan administration it has been 0.5 per cent.  That is the miracle of trickle down economics.  And it is because the economic performance is so poor that fiscal problems have taken place.  It is ironic that conservatives managed to sell the failure of their policies as the reason why those very same policies should be pursued.