Chart of the Day: Even in a Recovery, Wages Are Declining

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Via Felix Salmon, here are the results of a study from the National Employment Law Project that examined average wages in 785 occupations:

From the study:

Averaged across all occupations, we estimate that real median wages declined by 2.8 percent from 2009 to 2012. This is a striking decline, given that productivity increased by 4.5 percent over this same time period….Moreover, as shown in Figure 1, lower-wage and mid-wage occupations saw significantly bigger declines in their real wages than did higher-wage occupations. Occupations in the top two quintiles saw their median wages decline by less than 2 percent on average (and nearly a third of those occupations actually saw real wage growth). By contrast, occupations in the bottom three quintiles saw their median wages decline by 3 percent or more. 

Keep in mind that the recession officially ended in June 2009, so these wage losses are all coming during the period that we laughably refer to as a “recovery.” Some recovery.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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