Report: American Wages Down 23 Percent Since 2008

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A new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors delivers a sobering, if unsurprising, statistic about America’s economic recovery since the recession of the late 2000s: Present-day wages in the U.S. are down 23 percent from their 2008 levels, resulting in $93 billion in lost pay for American workers.

Released Monday, the report finds that average wages for pre-recession jobs remain at roughly three-quarters their 2008 levels.

While the USCM touts the report’s usefulness in “addressing income inequality” under a task force headed by New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, its findings are nevertheless troubling for those who instead view the Obama economy’s central problem as one of stifling economic mobility:

The annual wage in sectors where jobs were lost during the downturn was $61,637, but new jobs gained through the second quarter of 2014 showed average wages of only $47,171. This wage gap represents $93 billion in lost wages.

Under a similar analysis conducted by the Conference of Mayors during the 2001-2002 recession, the wage gap was only 12% compared to the current 23% — meaning the wage gap has nearly doubled from one recession to the next.

Among major metropolitan areas, 73 percent of cities (261 out of 357) have more households earning less than $35,000 per year than households that earn $75,000 per year or more.

Although a massaged Bureau of Labor and Statistics report recently proclaimed the addition of more than 200,000 jobs during the month of July, private-sector wages for the same period remained flat, continuing a post-recession trend.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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