Between 2019 and 2022, the inflation-adjusted wages of workers in the tenth percentile of the wage distribution increased by nine per cent, according to a study published earlier this year by Elise Gould, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, in Washington, D.C. When I spoke to Gould on Tuesday, she said that, based on wage data from industries such as leisure and hospitality, which employ a lot of low-wage workers, it appears that this trend has kept up into 2023. “Low-wage workers have had a bit more leverage, and that is reflected in the wage data,” Gould said. “They are doing better than before.”
The move drew sharp criticism from labor advocates. The Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning labor think tank, called the bill “one of the most dangerous rollbacks of child labor laws in the country” and asserted that much of the law violates federal labor law.
“There is a focus for them right now, particularly on the state level, on policies that erode investments in public education, increase the desperation of the poorest families by restricting access to Medicaid or food assistance, while also, of course, taking down guardrails on excessive hours or hazardous work for children,” said Jennifer Sherer, the senior state policy coordinator at the Economic Policy Institute.
According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, the median hourly wage for servers in the United States, including tips, was $11.42 in 2019, while the median hourly wage for non-tipped workers was $18.58. However, the report notes that the tipped minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation, resulting in a decline in purchasing power for tipped workers.
State legislatures including Iowa and Arkansas are rolling back child labor law protections. Ultra conservative groups, including the National Restaurant Association, are pushing bills that allow 14-year-olds to work the night shift cleaning meat packing plants and 15-year-olds to work on assembly lines. We’ll ask guests from the Economic Policy Institute why, what can be done, and ask how weakening child labor laws impacts and exploits some of our most vulnerable children, immigrants.
Deutsch, campaign director for the California Coalition for Worker Power
and Gerstein, director for the State and Local Enforcement Project at the
Harvard Law School Center for Labor and a Just Economy, detail the
importance of community enforcement programs in holding employers
accountable for wage violations. It’s detailed in their report “Power in
partnership,” which was published on June 8 by the Economic Policy
Institute and Harvard Law School’s CLJE.
Some H-1B visa holders in the U.S. have been among the thousands of tech workers laid off this year, sending them scrambling to find new employers within a 60-day “grace period” or return to their home country.
Additionally, new data from the Economic Policy Institute reaffirms the current strength of the job market for young workers. The study found the youth unemployment rate for workers between 16 and 24 tumbled to 7.5 percent in March. While that is nearly double the national rate of 3.7 percent, it also marks the lowest level since 1953.
According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, overtime work can increase the likelihood of having an irregular schedule and working split shifts. The food website Mashed reported that McDonald’s has been flagged for not paying workers overtime pay. In 2016, McDonald’s agreed to pay $1.75 million in backpay and $2 million in lawyer fees to settle a lawsuit where 800 workers alleged the food chain giant violated California law by not paying overtime.
Democrats mostly hailed the bills as beneficial for average workers, while Republicans mostly criticized the bills as being too pro-union.
The bills garnered support from the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Government Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Postal Workers Union, Communication Workers of America, the Economic Policy Institute, the National Urban League, and Oxfam America, according to Committee chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
That strike is only the most recent and widely reported strike among public employees. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that there was a 50 percent increase in strike activity in 2022 over the previous year.
Meanwhile, the national Black jobless rate in May slid to the lowest on record at 4.7%, reaching the narrowest gap with white workers ever.
“It’s good to see improvement overall,” says Kyle Moore, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute. “But the fact that disparities continue to exist in relative terms in some places means that there can still be work done.”
According to an analysis last year by the Economic Policy Institute, the heads of the top 350 publicly traded companies earned annual incomes that were on average 399 times greater than a typical worker in 2021, up from 59-to-1 in 1989. This means that some executives’ pay is significantly greater than 399 times their employee’s pay. In fact, the heads of 22 S&P 500 companies earn at least 1,000 times more than what their typical workers take home.
“What does it say about the greatest country on Earth, the land of the greatest opportunities, if we know what we need to do to address the problem, but only do it periodically for limited amounts of time?” Valerie Wilson of the Economic Policy Institute asked during Monday’s panel discussion.
“The overall broad trend is that employers are desperate for workers who will accept bad wages and crappy conditions, like always,” said Daniel Costa, director of immigration law and policy research at Washington, D.C.-based think tank Economic Policy Institute. “With the pandemic, a drop-off in immigration and more people out of the workforce … that’s a recipe for more youth labor. And we’re seeing states rolling back child labor laws. That’s scandalous.”
“The kind of churn that we’ve seen in this labor market, even though it’s down from a year ago, is higher than it [has been] historically; that is unusual,” says Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute. “The labor market has been incredibly resilient to the rising interest rates, the layoffs that we saw; the data is not showing that it is weakening, at least not yet.”
To identify the states that have introduced legislation or enacted laws to make it easier and cheaper to employ minors, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed an analysis of enacted or pending state legislation across the country by the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning labor-policy nonprofit research group. The status of pending legislation has been updated as of May 31.
Yesterday at the Economic Policy Institute’s Working Economics Blog, in a posting that preceded the latest news about Alito from ProPublica, Eve Tahmincioglu, Celine McNicholas and Daniel Costa wrote about why these Supreme Court justices’ close ties with business interests are a clear threat to workers’ rights:
Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said even as women try to educate themselves out of the pay gap, “the average wage for women with advanced degrees is still lower than the average wage for men with only a college degree.”
The dissertation set the tone for four decades of research and leadership by a scholar-activist of great intellect and great conscience, who went on to chair the economics department at Howard University, helped to define the Economic Policy Institute’s work on labor issues, led the National Commission for Employment Policy and the National Wage Record Database Design Project Report for the Clinton administration, served as assistant secretary for policy in Obama’s Labor Department, and spent the last decade of his life teaching economics at Howard and working with the AFL-CIO.
And then there’s the issue of affordable child care. As any parent knows, child care can quickly become a family’s top expense — $1,412 a month on average for caring for an infant in California, according to the Economic Policy Institute. As a result, one parent, often a mother, is forced to choose between going to work or staying home to fulfill the family’s child care obligations.
And then the other challenge, and this is a chart that is near and dear to the president’s heart. OK, near and dear is a weird way to describe a chart, also a grumpy chart, but I will say that one of the things, and this is I’ve known the, I’ve worked with the president a little bit before this campaign and over the years and this chart, which I think of as the Economic Policy Institute special, so Larry Mishel, if you’re watching, I did say that, but this chart shows the gap between productivity and wages over time
Landing in the top 10% is a fairly attainable goal for upwardly mobile Americans. A study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that the average earnings of those in the top 10% were roughly $173,000 in 2020.
As the lastest available data reflects the household’s top wage earner, you’re looking at quite a jump from Americans in the first 90%, who according to the EPI earned an average of $40,000 in 2020.