Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Business

In lesser jobs, American pay down 23 percent since downturn

The nation might have rebounded from the recession, regaining 8.7 million jobs — but Americans on average are making 23 percent less at those jobs than they were before the downturn, said a report released Monday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The report — "U.S. Metro Economies: Income and Wage Gaps Across the U.S." — found the average annual wage in sectors where jobs were lost in the downturn was $61,637. A similar accounting of the jobs gains through the second quarter of 2014 shows average wages of $47,171 per year. That wage gap translates to a 23 percent decline.

"While the economy is picking up steam, income inequality and wage gaps are an alarming trend," said Kevin Johnson, conference president and mayor of Sacramento, Calif. The organization expects the trend to continue.

In the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area, the average household income grew by 9 percent between 2005 and 2012. In contrast the median household income — indicating the income at which half of area households had higher income and half had less — grew only 6 percent in the same period.

"If average income rises at a faster pace than median income, it usually indicates that more and more income is being concentrated among the richer households," the study stated.

The report, prepared by research firm IHS Global Insight, examined income disparities over the past four decades and found that the problem has gotten steadily worse and was aggravated during and after the recent recession.

From 1975 to 2012, the highest-earning 20 percent of households markedly outpaced the lowest-earning 20 percent in America.

In 1975, the wealthiest households captured 43.6 percent of the nation's income, while the poorest had a share of 4.3 percent.

In 2012, low-income households saw their share drop to 3.2 percent while the high earners saw their share jump to 51 percent.

The report also warned of a loss of tax resources because of lower pay.

The tax revenue, which towns and cities need to keep operating, is dwindling as jobs created since the recession are paying less than jobs lost in the recession, the report said.

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