By Area of Research:
March 11, 2008 |See Snapshots archive. Snapshot for March 12, 2008. Burgeoning prison populations strain state budgets by Liana Fox A recent study released by the Pew Center on the States examines the rapid growth of the U.S.
January 31, 2008 |January 31, 2008 | EPI Issue Brief #242 Not-so-super Tuesday for state labor markets Voters have cause for concern in “Super Tuesday” states by Liana Fox and Michael Ettlinger Read news release “Super Tuesday” on February 5th will mark an important convergence of two important phenomena.
December 12, 2007 |See Snapshots archive. Snapshot for December 12, 2007. States continue to hemorrhage manufacturing jobs by Liana Fox and Lauren Marra Since March 2001—the most recent business cycle peak—the United States has lost nearly 3 million manufacturing jobs, a decline of 17.4%.
October 2, 2007 |See Snapshots archive. Snapshot for October 3, 2007. Wages continue to grow slowly, despite job recovery by Liana Fox Since 2001, median wages in nearly half of all states have failed to keep pace with inflation.
July 18, 2007 |See Snapshots archive. Snapshot for July 18, 2007. Employer-provided health coverage declining for college grads in entry-level jobs by Liana Fox and Elise Gould A college degree is no guarantee of receiving health insurance on the job.
May 25, 2007 |With the recent passage of a federal minimum wage bill, the first national minimum wage increase in over a decade is imminent.
April 17, 2007 |See Snapshots archive. Snapshot for April 18, 2007. Minimum wage: Still waiting on a raise by Liana Fox While the federal minimum wage languishes at $5.15 per hour, states continue to act to raise this basic wage floor.
January 31, 2007 |See Snapshots archive. Snapshot for January 31, 2007. Minimum wage increasingly lags poverty line by Liana Fox The recently released 2007 federal poverty guideline highlights the severe and growing inadequacy of the minimum wage.
October 25, 2006 |See Snapshots Archive. Snapshot for October 25, 2006. State minimum wages on the ballot By Liana Fox In less than two weeks, voters in six states will be given the opportunity to raise wages for as many as 1.5 million workers.
October 24, 2006 |There is a growing view among economists that the minimum wage offers substantial benefits to low-wage workers without negative effect. Although there are still dissenters, the best recent research has shown that the job loss reported in earlier analyses does not, in fact, occur when the minimum wage is increased.
September 7, 2006 |Since 1938 the federal government has set a minimum value for an hour’s work. This has been an important policy supporting the wage levels of low-wage workers and establishing a floor below which Congress will not let wages fall.
February 16, 2006 |See Snapshots Archive. Snapshot for February 17, 2006. Inequality widens as real value of minimum wage falls As a recent Economic Policy Institute and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report details, the incomes of the rich have skyrocketed over the past 20 years, while the rest of America has experienced only marginal gains. The divide between middle- and low-wage workers has also increased. One way the United States addresses inequality is through the federal minimum wage. In 2005, minimum wage workers earned only 32% of the average hourly wage. Barring a minimum wage increase, we are poised to break a record in 2006 for the greatest inequality between minimum wage and average wage workers since the end of World War II. As shown in the Figure below, the minimum wage reached a peak of 56% of the average wage in 1950 and remained near 50% throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The decline in the minimum wage relative to the average wage since 1969 has resulted from continuous increases in average wages while Congress has raised the minimum wage only modestly and sporadically. In January 2006, the average hourly wage was $16.41. To reach 50% of the average wage—the level experienced in the 1950s and 1960s—the minimum wage (currently at $5.15) would need to be raised to $8.20.
December 20, 2005 |See Snapshots Archive. Snapshot for December 21, 2005. Indexing the minimum wage for inflation The minimum wage, unlike Social Security and many tax code provisions, is not required by federal law to be adjusted for inflation every year. Thus, inflation eats away at its buying power every year that Congress does not raise it. In the more than eight years since Congress passed the last increase, the buying power of the minimum wage has eroded by 17% and is currently at its second-lowest value since 1955. As with much else, federal policy regarding the minimum wage has left the states holding the bag in recent years.