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As economy adds jobs, new worries about wages

The nation’s unemployment rate held steady at 8.3 percent in February, with data released Friday showing the job market added another 227,000 jobs. But even as more job opportunities open up, there is a growing concern about the wages being paid to entry-level workers.

The Economic Policy Institute released a new report this week that finds the entry-level hourly wage of a young, male high school graduate in 2011 was 25.3% less than that for the equivalent worker in 1979. For women, the entry-level high school wage fell 14.2% for this period.

Even workers with a college degree have seen poor wage growth over the last decade, according to their research. Here’s more from the EPI report:

“Entry-level wages fell among both women and men college graduates from 2000 to 2007, declining by 2.5 percent among men and 1.6 percent among women, and tumbled further in the recessionary years after 2007. This means that young college graduates who finished their education in the last five years or so are earning significantly less than their older brothers and sisters who graduated in the late 1990s. The poor wage growth in the last decade contrasts markedly with the strong period of rising wages for entry-level men college graduates from 1995 to 2000, during which time they increased 20.3 percent.”

“In 2011, the hourly wage of entry-level college-educated men was slightly more than $1 higher than in 1979, a rise of only 5.2 percent over 32 years.”

Read EPI’s full brief on wages in the lost decade here.

5 Comments


  1. Doug

    March 9, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I still wonder why they call this a recovery? Consumers are now $13 Trillion dollars in debt in this country !

  2. david esmay

    March 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    It’s called Reaganomics. Borrow, borrow, borrow, why pay for things today when you can keep borrowing. Consumer debt and economic recovery are two completely different things.

  3. Alex

    March 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Hardly so david small letters, because consumer debt and government debt are the two things driving this puny recovery. If the Fed wasn’t printing exhorbitant amounts of money to buy our own debt, things would be awful. The February deficit of $229 Billion dollars was the largest in this country’s history, and equaled the entire year of 2007. You do much better with social issues than with economics.

  4. david esmay

    March 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Hardly so, Alex small mind. Over the last 60 years, five Democratic presidents, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton, all reduced public debt. The last four Republican presidents, Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Bush, all had increases in the public debt and oversaw increases in federal deficits. Both Bruce Bartlett, domestic policy adviser under Reagan, and David Stockman, Reagan’s director of management and budget point to neo-conservative ideological tax cutting during Reagan’s administration and the right’s adoption of Irving Krystol’s ‘starve the beast” mentality to the extreme debt and deficits that we face today. You don’t do well with economics, history, or social issues.

  5. Alex

    March 12, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Sorry david , but you always retreat to something you remember little about. The Carter years were a fiasco, and it took some stimulus spending to get us out of that very deep recession. It still was on a much smaller scale than the Obama debacle.

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