WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – Much of the debate over the state of the economy in recent years has been the oft repeated phrase that the middle class is quickly dying in the United States.
It turns out, that may be reality, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute.
The EPI found that real hourly wages for people at the middle of the wage distribution have been essentially flat ever since roughly 2001. The first year of the 2000’s showed some growth, but between the recessions that hit after that and the Great Recession, any gains were mostly wiped out for the middle class.
According to the Washington Post, when the EPI broke down wage growth by education level, over the last 12 years the only group to show solid growth is workers with advanced degrees. For workers with just a high school diploma, real average hourly wages have declined into negative territory since 2000.
Workers with just a bachelor’s degree have seen wages essentially remain stagnant, until roughly 2011 when some growth was seen.
However, the EPI found that during the same period, while hourly compensation has stagnated, productivity has gone up by nearly 30 percent during the period from 2000-2013. So while workers are producing more and worker harder, the pay needle isn’t moving for the middle class.
Workers, in other words, are rapidly losing their share of income in the nation, which is unprecedented in modern American history, according to the Post.
The Post reported that from shortly after the Great Depression to around the year 2000, labor’s share income was fairly steady. However, starting in the mid-2000’s and running through 2013, labor’s share of income has dropped anywhere between four and 10 percent.