It's Not Just Unemployment -- New Data Shows Working Americans' Pay Is "Awful"

This week, the Social Security Administration released data on U.S. payrolls, and found that while the average wage -- overall wage income divided by the number of working people -- was just under $40k, the median wage -- the one right in the middle of the pack -- was just $26,363. That's because so much income has been redistributed to workers at the top of the pile that almost two-thirds of Americans make less than that wage in the middle.

The brilliant David Cay Johnston has more:

That works out to $507 a week, the lowest level, after adjusting for inflation, since 1999.

The number of Americans with any work fell again last year, down by more than a half million from 2009 to less than 150.4 million...

Average pay peaked in 2007 at $40,764, which is $15 a week more than average weekly wage income in 2010.

The number of workers making $1 million or more rose to almost 94,000 from 78,000 in 2009. However, that was still below some earlier years, including 2007, when more than 110,000 workers made more than $1 million each.

At the very top, the number of workers making more than $50 million rose in 2010 to 81, up from 72 the year before.

When people talk about America's (and to a lesser degree the UK and Canada's) spiraling inequality, they usually refer to what's known as the Gini Coefficient (if you're the nerdy type, it's explained here). But there's another way of looking at it: you can compare the income right in the middle of the pack with the average income.

Ezra Klein has a graphic illustrating the widening gap:






















AlterNet / By Joshua Holland

Posted at October 21, 2011, 10:32am

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