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The Economic Perspective: “Gains for the Lowest Paid”

I’m Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at gains for the lowest paid.  Mike, workers at the lowest rungs of the pay schedule face two big problems.  Their pay is low.  But also, their pay doesn’t seem to rise very much.  Have there been any improvements in either of these issues in recent years?

Mike: Summary Answer

  1. Yes – in the second issue
  2. Since 2016 weekly wages for full time workers in the lowest 10% of the wage distribution have gotten much better pay boosts
  3. In fact, recently these workers have seen boosts of between 4% and 6% annually, compared to nothing to maybe 2% in earlier years
  4. Reason is likely the improved overall job market
  5. With unemployment so low, even workers at the lower end of the pay scale can demand better pay or move to a better paying job
  6. So faster economic growth has been the key
  7. I’m MW

Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics