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.