Monday, August 28, 2006

Times continued great coverage of class, economy

I think it's great the Times made this the lead story today:

The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity — the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation’s living standards — has risen steadily over the same period.

As a result, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960’s.

Update:a followup story:
The nation’s median household income rose slightly faster than inflation last year for the first time in six years, the Census Bureau reported yesterday.
The rise, however, had little to do with bigger paychecks — in fact, both men and women earned less in 2005 than 2004. Rather, census officials said, more family members were taking jobs to make ends meet, and some people made more money from investments and other sources beyond wages.

2 comments:

Bennie said...

Anya, I agree-- I'm thrilled the Times coverage of this incredibly important topic. One thing that occurred to me while reading it-- it was mentioned that declining real wages was offset somewhat by the increasing cost of benefits (namely healthcare), meaning that "total compensation" levels made the picture appear better. One thing I've noticed though-- while health care costs have risen so that technically your total compensation may look better, the quality of health care coverage has declined-- wage earners are having to spend more out of pocket on health care. In covering the decline of real income for wage earners, factoring in "compensation" makes it appear on paper that the decline isn't as bad as it actually *feels* to the workers out there who are getting less out of the health care their companies are paying more for.

I hope I'm not too rambly here and make some sense?

Anya said...

That absolutely makes sense--more expensive health care doesn't improve your quality of life. It's an amazing worst-of-both-worlds effect.