Today, the Economic Policy Institute released its top charts of 2015—11 charts, tracking data like the prime-age employment-to-population ratio, wage growth, and the value of the minimum wage over time, that tell the story of the economy throughout the year.
On some fronts, the economy is steadily recovering from the Great Recession. The unemployment rate is down, and the pace of monthly job growth is healing some of the damage inflicted by the downturn. But as EPI’s top charts of 2015 illustrate, the economy remains far from fully recovered—and it is still failing ordinary Americans, who have endured decades of stagnant wages despite working more productively than ever.
As the charts make clear, it doesn’t have to be this way. They show that policies that enhance low- and middle-income Americans’ economic leverage—such as keeping interest rates low, raising the minimum wage, making it easier for workers to bargain collectively, expanding access to overtime pay, and eliminating discriminatory practices that contribute to gender inequality—can go far toward creating an economy where prosperity is broadly shared.
EPI’s top charts are interactive, embeddable, and can be automatically shared to Facebook and Twitter.