At the beginning of the year, 14 states raised their minimum wages, lifting wages for over 4.6 million workers in states across the country. Unlike last year’s increases
, the majority of these increases (12) were scheduled increases initiated by legislation or approved by voters through ballot measures.
The economic impact of so-called “right-to-work” (RTW) laws has become a hotly contested issue in recent years. These laws restrict the ability of unions to collect dues from workers whose interests they represent.
A common argument claims that cutting the length of time that people can collect unemployment benefits forces people to find jobs faster. If this were the case, we would expect to see the share of people with jobs increase after cuts went into effect in states that cut unemployment insurance.
After dipping slightly in 2013, annual earnings of the top 1.0 percent of wages earners grew 4.9 percent in 2014, and the top 0.1 percent’s earnings grew 8.9 percent, according to our analysis of the latest Social Security Administration wage data.
The income level necessary for families to secure an adequate but modest living standard is an important economic yardstick. While poverty thresholds help to evaluate what it takes for families to live free of serious economic deprivation, EPI's Family Budget Calculator offers a broader measure of economic welfare.
This paper presents the methodology and data sources used in the 2015 update of the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator.
Only 2.8 million salaried women earn less than the current overtime salary threshold of $23,660. If the threshold is raised to $50,440, an additional 6.9 million women will have automatic overtime pay coverage, including 2.4 million women with children under the age of 18.
This technical memo explains the methodology we used to estimate the number of workers affected by the Department of Labor’s proposed update to the overtime salary threshold.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay covered workers 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for each hour of work per week beyond 40 hours.
In a 2014 analysis
, former EPI economist Heidi Shierholz estimated the share of salaried workers who were covered by the overtime salary threshold in 1975 and in 2013. Now, in updating this analysis, we want to be as precise as possible in identifying the workers who will be affected by the updated salary threshold rule.
Today's young college graduates face a more challenging labor market—higher unemployment, higher underemployment, and lower wages—than their older siblings did before the Great Recession. While wage stagnation is not unique to the newest labor market entrants, what is particularly stunning is the fact that stark wage disparities between men and women occur even at this early part of their careers.
The fact is that wage and income inequality didn’t happen by accident; they are the result of intentional policy decisions that have shifted bargaining power away from workers. So along with fighting to alleviate poverty through a stronger safety net, we should use all the tools available to raise America’s pay and raise Americans out of poverty.
Job prospects for the class of 2015 are better than for the several classes that graduated before them, but young graduates today still face many economic challenges, including stagnant wages and high levels of unemployment and underemployment.
Due to the progression of the economic recovery and a modest improvement in the unemployment rate, members of the Class of 2015 currently have better job prospects than the classes of 2009–2014. However, the Class of 2015 still faces real economic challenges, as evidenced by elevated levels of unemployment and underemployment, and a large share of graduates who still remain “idled” by the economy.
That the poverty rate has remained stubbornly elevated over the last three-and-a-half decades is simply a symptom of an increasingly unequal economy, marked by nearly stagnant hourly wages for the vast majority of the American workforce.
Despite officially ending in June 2009, the Great Recession and its aftermath continues to have a damaging effect on the labor market prospects of young adults.
Wages in "right-to-work" (RTW) states are 3.1 percent lower than those in non-RTW states, after controlling for a full complement of individual demographic and socioeconomic factors as well as state macroeconomic indicators. This translates into RTW being associated with $1,558 lower annual wages for a typical full-time, full-year worker.
Unemployment insurance (UI) is a federal-state program that provides income support for jobless workers in economic downturns. Following the Great Recession, the safety net provided by the UI system was a crucial tool in counteracting the effects of the downturn on families.
In our recent EPI briefing paper, How Low Can We Go?, we noted that a lower proportion of jobless workers are protected by state unemployment insurance (UI) programs than at any time in history.
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, state unemployment insurance (UI) programs are failing their critical goals of income replacement and supporting economic growth. The proportion of jobless workers receiving benefits from state programs, referred to as the UI recipiency rate, fell to 23.1 percent in December 2014—below the previous record-low level of 25.0 percent in September 1984.
A pattern that Colin Gordon has presented in past years (2013, 2012) is that union membership density fell as the share of income going to the top 10 percent escalated.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay all covered workers a premium when they work overtime: 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for each hour beyond 40 in a week.
Since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, the massive growth of trade between China and the United States has had a dramatic and negative effect on U.S. workers and the domestic economy.
The release of new Social Security Administration wage data gives us a chance to update our analysis of wage trends for the top 1.0 percent of wage earners and wage groups in the bottom 99.0 percent.
Earlier this month, we released our “Class of 2014″ report on the labor market and earnings prospects for the high school and college graduates of 2014.
Although the job situation is slowly improving, the Class of 2014 faces an extremely difficult job market. The dramatic increase since 2007 in unemployment among new college graduates underscores that today’s unemployment crisis among young workers did not arise because workers lack the right skills. Instead, the weak labor market the Class of 2014 is entering into is due to weak demand for workers in the economy overall.
Across the country, millions of students are gearing up for graduation and will begin focusing on their career goals. Two key paths young graduates can take to continue preparing for their careers are to get a job, or to enroll in further schooling.
On Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) region 13 director, Peter Sung Ohr, granted the Northwestern University football players the right to join the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) union.