WASHINGTON — The nation’s high unemployment rate captures the headlines with each monthly jobs report, yet many Americans may be surprised to learn that real earnings, when adjusted for inflation, have declined across most industries and sectors since the Great Recession. Since 2002, in fact, it’s effectively been a lost decade for workers.
Equally troubling, real wages are now about the same level as they were in December 2005. Put another way, wages have clawed back from the Great Recession only to the level of seven years ago.
“The recession was unprecedented, and the stagnation of wages has really been going on for some time,” said Martin Kohli, the chief economist of the New York office of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“If you are unemployed or underemployed, that is the most important issue,” he said. “But if you’re working, and your income has gone down, or you haven’t had a wage increase in a number of years, that problem is the bigger issue for you.”
The problem makes recovering from the Great Recession harder, he said, because without wage growth, it’s harder for Americans to pay down their debts.
Read More at mcclatchydc.com . By Kevin G. Hall.