For Most U.S. Workers, Real Wages Have Barely Budged
Thursday, August 9, 2018 2:28 PM
On the face of it, these should be heady times for American workers. U.S. unemployment is as low as it’s been in nearly two decades (3.9 percent as of July) and the nation’s private-sector employers have been adding jobs for 101 straight months—19.5 million since the Great Recession-related cuts finally abated in early 2010, and 1.5 million just since the beginning of the year.
But despite the strong labor market, wage growth
has lagged economists’ expectations
, according to a recent article from Pew Research Center. In fact, despite some ups and downs over the past several decades, today’s real average wage (that is, the wage after accounting for inflation) has about the same purchasing power it did 40 years ago. And what wage gains there have been have mostly flowed to the highest-paid tier of workers.
The disconnect between the job market and workers’ paychecks has fueled much of the recent activism in states and cities around raising minimum wages
, and it also has become a factor in at least some of this year’s congressional campaigns
to read the full article from Pew.