Chart of the Day: 2010 Was a Very Bad Year

Every year the Social Security Administration releases data on the previous year’s wage income. It comes from SSA’s Medicare tax database, which processes W-2 forms and includes all wages, salaries, bonuses, independent contractor net income, and other compensation. In 2010, total wages and salaries amounted to $6 trillion.

David Cay Johnston has all the latest numbers and reports on what they tell us:

The median paycheck — half made more, half less — fell again in 2010, down 1.2 percent to $26,364. That works out to $507 a week, the lowest level, after adjusting for inflation, since 1999.

The number of Americans with any work fell again last year, down by more than a half million from 2009 to less than 150.4 million. More significantly, the number of people with any work has fallen by 5.2 million since 2007, when the worst recession since the Great Depression began, with a massive taxpayer bailout of Wall Street following in late 2008.

There’s more at the link. The chart below summarizes the grim news.