Research Report Beyond the Wage Stagnation Story
Better Measures Show America’s Workers Doing Better Than Previously Reported
Stephen Rose
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Many major media outlets take as a given that the earnings of middle-class workers have not increased much for many years. The most commonly cited figure is the small 6 percent increase in median real hourly pay between 1979 and 2013. However, this paper finds that real median yearly compensation rose 38 percent over these years. This large discrepancy results from how data are examined in this paper: using yearly rather than hourly pay, including employer-provided benefits of payroll taxes and medical insurance and retirement contributions; and accounting for inflation with a different measure.
Research Areas Economic mobility and inequality Education Wealth and financial well-being Race and equity
Tags Employment and income data Racial and ethnic disparities Wages and nonwage compensation Labor force Wealth inequality Inequality and mobility Racial equity in education Racial inequities in economic mobility Racial inequities in employment Wages and economic mobility
Policy Centers Income and Benefits Policy Center