Economics, Pethokoukis, U.S. Economy

The weak labor market is about more than just the unemployment rate

AEI’s Aparna Mathur and Daniel Hanson:

Since 2007, the real median income of American families has dropped by over $5,000 per family, while the BLS reports that the average employed person spends 8.3 hours per day working, up from 7.6 hours per day in 2007. In other words, American employees are working more and earning less.

Meanwhile, median household wealth has dropped. According to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, American families have experienced a significant drop in net worth since the start of the crisis. This drop illustrates the lower returns earned on investment income, lower wages, a fall in housing prices, and reductions in ancillary benefits like retirement plans and health insurance since the start of the Great Recession.

For workers at either end of the income distribution, the movements have been even more extreme. Workers in the lowest quintile are far more likely to be working longer hours than their middle quintile counterparts, though wages have held constant. For workers in the highest quintile, income has fallen most drastically, but hours worked have remained approximately the same.

One thought on “The weak labor market is about more than just the unemployment rate

  1. It’s due to businesses being efficient,and squeezing every ounce out of production they can.It can’t go on forever,but with technology advances it might.

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