Friday, March 4, 2011

Disturbing wage news from Brookings

The Brookings Institution has just released an analysis comparing the median annual earnings of America’s male workers between 1970 and 2009.  Wages for full-time male workers has stagnated—median pay for full-time workers aged 25-64 in 2009 and 1970 were roughly the same--$48,000 after adjusting for inflation.  In other words, there has been no improvement in the wages of prime—aged male workers in nearly four decades.

Compare what has happened to incomes in the last four decades to what happened during the three decades following WWII and you will see just how disturbing these findings are.  During the three decades after WWII,  the real income of American workers grew about 2% per year which meant that the income of each successive generation nearly doubled.

It gets worse.

If you examine the median income of all male workers instead of full-time workers, wages have actually DECLINED by 28%. 

Brookings offers several explanations for the decline:

Fewer prime-aged men can find full-time jobs—80% in 1970 vs. just 66% today. (For men with only a high-school education, it is worse.  79% of male high-school graduates worked full-time vs. just 57% today.)  And today, 18% of males had no earnings at all vs. just 6% in 1970.

At just the time when we should be pouring money into educating our workforce, Republicans are attacking teachers and cutting education budgets. 

Read the report here:  

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