The vast majority of America's workers have largely been shut out of the nation’s economic growth over the past three decades, reports the 12th edition of The State of Working America from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
Released today and available online, the report finds that the typical American family has added hundreds of extra hours of work each year, while also earning better education credentials, yet is still struggling to keep up.
The State of Working America tracks the economic growth of the middle class—the little there is—and finds that a middle-class family's income would have been an average of $19,000 higher per year by 2007 “if the share of growth claimed by the richest households had not grown so much over the past 30 years.”
Likewise, wealth for the typical American family would have been $62,000 higher in 2010 had the growth in wealth over these same years not been overwhelmingly claimed by families at the very top. The research also shows that growing income inequality has not been offset by increased mobility. These trends have not occurred by accident: economic policies have undercut the ability of workers to benefit from economic growth.
The book also examines mobility up and down the economic ladder, wages and salary growth—with the biggest jump going to those at the top—job growth and loss, wealth and net worth of working families versus the wealthy and the growing number of families slipping into poverty.