This is the first of a four-part series describing what went wrong with America’s economy and how to fix it. See Part 2 tomorrow—and please leave a comment to tell us what you think. (Click the chart to enlarge.)
The Great Recession officially ended more than three years ago, but working families know there’s still something wrong with the U.S. economy. If we want to fix our economy, we first have to understand what’s wrong with it. (Click chart on the left to enlarge).
Starting today, in a series of four posts and infographics, we’ll spell out what we see as the short-term and long-term causes of our economic problems and we’ll point to specific solutions.
Many U.S. workers don’t have jobs—nearly 13 million. Less known, however, is that many more don’t have good jobs—fewer than one-quarter of America’s workforce, according to a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). The center defines a good job as one that pays at least $18.50 an hour, or $37,000 per year, equal to the inflation-adjusted earnings of the typical male worker in 1979. A good job also includes employer-provided health insurance and a retirement plan (click on chart at left to expand).
The lack of available good jobs is not new. As CEPR finds, compared with 1979, the U.S. economy has lost about one-third (28 percent to 38 percent) of its capacity to generate good jobs.
The Federal Reserve recently adopted a two percent inflation target, reports Thomas Palley, AFL-CIO senior economic policy advisor. The Fed should be looking at policies that improve wages, not ones that will undercut the possibility of future wage increases and make it more difficult to achieve full employment, Palley writes In an Op-Ed published in the Economists' Forum blog titled, "The Fed's 2% Inflation Target Trap."
Today marks the third year minimum wage workers haven't seen a raise. While the price of just about everything else has skyrocketed (milk, eggs, health care, college), full-time minimum wage workers are barely making more than $15,000 a year. Here are 10 facts you need to know about the minimum wage.