Friday, July 10, 2020
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In Praise of Escapism (My op/ed running this week in very...

As I’ve been saying for years, life is a poorly controlled experiment. That’s because, in the words of the old beer commercial, “You only...

50% of All Workers Made Less than $26,000 in 2010

So reads the title of this post at The Atlantic that went up mid-morning on Friday.  It is based on Wage Statistics for 2010 from the Social Security Administration, a report whose official release is today. The title of Derek Johnson's post is not quite accurate, as the real median wage is $26,364, which means "the typical wage is at its lowest level since 1999, after adjusting for inflation."  That is one of the key points Johnson borrows from the analysis of David Cay Johnston, to which he also links.  The other two are that the number of millionaires increased by 20% since 2007, while simultaneously we have lost about 10,000,000 workers, a figure derived by noting the number of jobs lost and the number of additional people who should have entered the workforce  since 2007.

Johnson (Atlantic editor, not the economist) notes:

median pay took a nosedive after 2007, effectively wiping out all gains made in the previous eight years. The macro explanation is that the economy shrunk, and middle class jobs disappeared and were replaced with (or outlasted by) lower-paying positions that companies kept on.
There are significant differences by industry.