Chart of the day

Posted: 16 January 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,



According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the crash of 2007-08, real wages have declined for the bottom 85 percent of workers (outside of a small bump for those at the very bottom of the pay scale) but increased in real terms for those in the top 15 percent (especially a few percentages at the very top). (The vertical axis shows real wage decline or growth, and the horizontal axis indicates percentages of the wage distribution.)

This picture of pay inequality lends support to other studies (e.g., by David Autor [pdf]) that find positive wage growth among highly paid jobs but wage stagnation among jobs with lower pay.

Since most of those whose wages have increased (CEOs, financial executives, lawyers, and so on) are receiving distributions of the surplus produced by everyone else, we can see once again the connection between the worsening conditions of those at the bottom and the growing fortunes of a small group at the top.

  1. Dr. Lapin says:

    David, that chart only goes up to the 2%. Are the top 2% not on the chart because there’s no real reliable data on the very very very… rich? Or because the bars representing their income are literally off the charts? If for either of the two aforementioned reasons, wouldn’t that be worth noting in your commentary? Or is there some other reason?

    And this is just wage income, so income as a whole would be even more skewed in the same direction, correct?

    • David F. Ruccio says:

      Data seem to be missing (in the original BLS article) for both the bottom 3 percentiles and the top 2 percentiles—but I don’t know why.

      Yes, total income (including capital income) is much more unequal than wage and salary income. And, of course, the distribution of wealth is much more unequal than the distribution of income.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s