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September 07, 2004

EPI State of Working America

The Economic Policy Institute annually publishes its State of Working America, so I thought I'd highlight some of the most important facts on inequality they document:

  • Incomes: Real median family income declined 1.2% per year from 2000 to 2002, a two-year drop of $1,300 in 2003 dollars. . .2002 set the record for the slowest growth in nominal income growth for the median family since 1954.

  • Jobs: As of June 2004, the economy was still down 1.2 million jobs from the March 2001 peak. . . The employment gain during the latest recovery was only 0.2%. On average, employment increased by 9.5% in the previous nine economic recoveries.

  • Shrinking Middle Class: The middle-earning group of households, defined as those with income from half to twice the median, shrunk to 60.7% in 2002 from 68.0% in 1979.

  • Minimum Wage: In 2003, the minimum wage was worth just 34% of what an average worker earned per hour, the lowest point for this ratio in 40 years. This ratio was about 50% in the late 1960s, about 45% in the mid-1970s and about 40% in the early 1990s.

  • CEO Pay: From 1992 (the first year of data for all but the average CEO) to 2003, the median CEO received an 80.8% raise. In contrast, the median workers’ hourly wage rose 8.7%. . . In 2003, it took a CEO one and a half workdays (260 in a year) to earn what an average worker made in 52 weeks.

    Posted by Nathan at September 7, 2004 05:54 PM