EPI: First Half 2017 Data Reveal Broad Wage Growth, but Inequality Persists

Labor News

Reprinted from The Economic Policy Institute by Elise Gould on August 1, 2017.

“Earlier this year,” writes Elise Gould for the Economic Policy Institute, “I wrote about the state of American wages through 2016. Now, we have a chance to see what’s been happening to wages in 2017 by examining wages in the first half (FH) of the year. In the table below, I present EPI’s most up-to-date real (inflation-adjusted) hourly wage series from the Current Population Survey (CPS) across the wage distribution. I compare the most recent six months of wage data with FH2016, FH2007, and FH2000.[1]My conclusions about FH2017 data are fairly consistent with what I found when I analyzed the 2016 data compared to previous years. Preliminary findings from 2017 suggest more broadly based wage growth—with significant gains at the 10th percentile—associated with an economy approaching full employment as well as state-level increases in the minimum wage. That good news is tempered by the fact that the vast majority of workers are, in reality, only beginning to make up for lost ground, rather than getting ahead, and wage inequality is still far greater today than in 2007 or 2000. …EPI:

TABLE 1

Hourly wages by wage percentile, FH2000–FH2017 (FH2017 dollars)

Wage by percentile
Year  10th  20th  30th  40th  50th  60th  70th  80th  90th  95th
FH2000 $8.98 $10.89 $12.85 $14.79 $17.25 $20.43 $24.22 $29.40 $38.45 $48.91
FH2007 $9.14 $11.15 $13.02 $15.31 $17.83 $21.11 $24.95 $30.76 $41.01 $53.24
FH2016 $9.39 $10.85 $12.99 $15.33 $17.99 $21.37 $25.61 $32.03 $44.32 $59.11
FH2017 $9.85 $11.12 $13.19 $15.46 $18.17 $21.74 $26.09 $33.00 $45.60 $59.95
Percent change
2000-2007 0.3% 0.3% 0.2% 0.5% 0.5% 0.5% 0.4% 0.6% 0.9% 1.2%
2007-2017 0.8% 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.3% 0.4% 0.7% 1.1% 1.2%
2016-2017 5.0% 2.4% 1.6% 0.9% 1.0% 1.7% 1.9% 3.0% 2.9% 1.4%
2000-2017 0.6% 0.1% 0.2% 0.3% 0.3% 0.4% 0.4% 0.7% 1.0% 1.2%

Note: The xth-percentile wage is the wage at which x% of wage earners earn less and (100-x)% earn more.

Source: EPI analysis of Current Population Survey microdata

 

EPI 8/1

About Jeffrey Burman 1731 Articles
Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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