Saturday, July 21, 2012

Most poor workers employed by big, rich companies

A new report shows 90 percent of the 50 largest companies that employ poor workers (can you say "Wal-mart" and "McDonald's"?) made money last year. Lots of it. And despite the sluggish economy.

Why are we not surprised?

The report, written by the National Employment Law Project,  draws several infuriating conclusions:

  • Two-thirds of low-wage workers are employed by large corporations with more than 100 employees;
  • The average weekly paycheck fell by 1.7% in the final quarter of last year;
  • The minimum wage, which hasn't risen in three years,  is now worth 30% less than it was in 1968;
  • Pay for the average CEO at the top low-wage employers was $9.4 million last year.  
  • The 50 biggest companies returned $174.8 billion to their shareholders over the past five fiscal years, often thousands of dollars per employee per year.

    A slide show at The Huffington Post lists 10 states where wages have fallen in the past two decades. Leading the pack is Ohio, where wages fell $.86 between 2000 and 2010, and $1.15 from 1990 to 2000. Watch it here.