Low- and middle-wage workers’ wages grow more quickly in response to an improving labor market than high-wage workers’ wages: Change in average annual real wage growth in response to a 1-percentage-point increase in unemployment or employment rates over the 1980–2016 period, by wage percentile

10th-percentile wage 50th-percentile wage 90th-percentile wage
Unemployment rate -0.49002 -0.41468 -0.29154
EPOP, ages 16+ 0.226744 0.190327 0.09891
Prime-age EPOP 0.246173 0.212029 0.091589

Notes: Each bar is the coefficient from the regression of the real annual percent change in a given percentile’s wage on the measure of labor market tightness. Regressions include state and year fixed effects. Additional details and estimates are in the appendix. EPOP refers to the employment-to-population ratio; prime-age refers to adults ages 25–54. The xth-percentile wage is the wage at which x% of wage earners earn less and (100−x)% earn more.

Source: EPI analysis of annual, state-level aggregations of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group microdata, 1979–2016

View the underlying data on epi.org.