Describe and explain overall wage trends in the U.S.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, but 29 states have currently raised their minimums above the federal rate. As of February 2015, the District of Columbia had the highest minimum wage rate at $10.50 per hour, with Georgia and Wyoming having the lowest at $5.15 an hour. Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee currently have no minimum wage requirement (United States of Department of Labor, 2015). As of July 2015, the median weekly income for all full-time workers was $801, up 2.7% from the same time period the previous year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015)
Considering real median income by race from 1959-2014, Asians and White outpaced All Races, Hispanic and Blacks. Asians were at $74,297, Whites were at $60,256, Hispanics at $42,491 and Blacks at $35,391. Trends follow in this parallel with the exception of 1995 when median incomes for Blacks intersected that of Hispanics (DeNavas-Walt & Proctoer, 2015).
Between 1979 and 2013, productivity grew eight times faster than hourly wages of frontline workers, who make up more than 80% of the workforce. This means that wages have not kept pace with worker output. Economists also argue that real hourly wages have actually fallen for 70 percent of workers with college degrees (Peralta, 2014).
Describe and explain trends in income disparity in the U.S.
When comparing the distribution of wealth by quintiles of the lowest percentage of income to the highest, the lowest fifthâ€™s share of aggregate income shrank from 4.0% to 3.1%, from 1967 to 2014. Conversely, the inverse happened to those in the top five percent of wealth holders, with their aggregate percentage moving from 17.2% in 1964 to 21.9% in 2014, perhaps proving the adage â€œthe rich get richer and the poor get poorerâ€ (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015).
Education is also a significant factor when determining income disparity. In the second quarter of 2015, full-time workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $499, compared with $678 for high school graduates and $1,210 for those holding at least a bachelor’s degree. Among college graduates with advanced degrees (professional or master’s degree and above), the highest earning 10 percent of male workers made $3,779 or more per week, compared with $2,412 or more for their female counterparts.
Ethnicity is another segmentation that illustrates income disparity, with Whites typically outpacing their comparative Hispanic and Black workers (DeNavas-Walt & Proctoer, 2015).
Describe and explain trends in gender income inequality in the U.S.
The Census Bureau traditionally reports two measures of income inequality: (1) the shares of aggregate household income received by quintiles and (2) the Gini index (DeNavas-Walt & Proctoer, 2015).
In 2014, women earned 79% of what men earned with their median earnings at $39,621 and menâ€™s at $50,383. The closest women every came to earning what men did was in 1974. The earnings of both women and men have been fairly stagnant since the recession of 2001 (DeNavas-Walt & Proctoer, 2015).
Looking at 2015, the women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White women earned 81.2 percent as much as their male counterparts, compared with black women (88.4 percent), Asian women (77.1 percent), and Hispanic women (92.4 percent) (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015).
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2015, July 21). News Release. Retrieved October 12, 2015, from Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/wkyeng.pdf
DeNavas-Walt, C., & Proctoer, B. D. (2015, September). Current Population Reports. Retrieved October 12, 2015 , from Census: http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/demo/p60-252.pdf
Peralta, K. (2014, August 27). News. Retrieved October 12, 2015, from U.S. News: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/08/27/wages-have-fallen-for-almost-everyone-this-year
Schiller, B. R., Hill, C. D., & Wall, S. L. (2013). The Macro Economy Today (Vol. 2013). New York, New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2015, September 16). Income. Retrieved October 14, 2015, from U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/inequality/
United States of Department of Labor. (2015, January 1). Wage and Hour Division. Retrieved October 12, 2015, from United State Department of Labor: http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm
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