Home > upward income redistribution > The 40-year disconnect (USA) (chart)

The 40-year disconnect (USA) (chart)

from David Ruccio


As Steven Rattner explains,

Wage increases haven’t been paltry because the efficiency of the American worker has flagged; indeed, productivity has continued to chug along. But those productivity gains have simply not been passed on to workers. Between 2000 and 2012, productivity rose by 22 percent while wages increased by 7.7 percent. The divergence was particularly great over the last three years of that period – productivity up 4.6 percent and real wages down 1.1 percent. For this failure of the American worker to be rewarded for his growing output, blame a variety of factors, perhaps most important, globalization, which has allowed companies to move production to whatever part of the planet offers the lowest cost labor. In that respect, American workers remain in a race to the bottom.

Actually, it’s American employers who remain in a race to the bottom—and, during 2013, they continued to win.

  1. R. T. Greenwood
    January 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Productivity data is highly questionable. Much of productivity is actually inflation. Also, much of productivity is Wall Street transactions. Federal Reserve “trickle down” is not even trickling.

  2. January 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    This nice chart can be used to advocate the return to a new gold standard, can’t it ?

  3. January 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Reblogged this on Parchment in the Fire.

  4. January 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Where do we represent the remarkable reductions in costs consumers have been enjoying as a result of increases in productivity? Most goods we consume have fallen in real terms, and median man hours required to purchase, all while quality has improved. This graph, incompletely understood is misleading, with all the pleasure of one hand clapping

    • January 7, 2014 at 2:35 am

      Except perhaps for the most important of goods – housing, for which the median man hours required to purchase has increased.

  5. Allan Sleeman
    January 6, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Do you have a similar chart with total worker compensation?

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