|Source: Economic Policy Institute.|
Our friends at the Economic Policy Institute analyzed wage increases between 1979 and 2007. They found that pay hikes were heavily concentrated in the years 1995-2000. Explains the study's author, Lawrence Mishel:
...productivity accelerated, unemployment dropped and stayed persistently low, and the minimum wage was boosted.Otherwise, most people increased their income over the past 30 years by working more hours. Mishel writes,
On average, real annual wages—which are determined by hourly wages and hours worked per year—grew 26.9 percent from 1979 to 2007. However, this increase was heavily assisted by the growth of work hours, since real hourly wages grew 17.5 percent ... Indeed, for the bottom 60 percent of wage earners, the rise in annual wages stemmed roughly as much from increased work hours as increased real hourly wages. The 32.7 percent growth of real annual wages for the lowest-wage workers (those in the bottom fifth) was especially driven by work hours, as real hourly wages only grew 7.7 percent. This was particularly true among low-wage women (a group that encompasses 24 percent of all women wage earners). Their real annual wages grew 35.3 percent, while their real hourly wages grew just 6.5 percent.Things haven't gotten better since 2007. The blogger Testosterone Pit wrote on Thursday,
...the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that wages adjusted for inflation had continued their morose decline: in 2012, by 0.4% after having already declined 0.5% in 2011. It doesn’t seem much. With nominal wages rising, workers might temporarily be fooled into thinking that they’re moving ahead. But enough of those declines, and pretty soon you’re talking about some real money.TP is pretty angry about the American workers' dire situation. Read his whole screed here.