Home > Uncategorized > How low can it go?

How low can it go?

from David Ruccio

labor share

The United States is now more than eight years out from the end of the Great Recession and the one-side nature of the recovery is, or at least should be, clear for all to see.  

Even as unemployment has dipped below the so-called “natural rate,” workers are far from recovering all they’ve last in the past decade.

According to the official data illustrated in the chart above, the labor share of national income remains just above the lowest level it reached in the entire postwar period. Using 100 in 2009 as the index value, the current labor share has fallen to 96.5—down from 110.24 in 2001 and 114 in 1960.

The question is, how low can the labor share go?



  1. spender7
    December 8, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    And if you superimpose the 1%’s share ?

    • David F. Ruccio
      December 8, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      I’ve added the chart you’re looking for in an update to the original post.

  2. David F. Ruccio
    December 8, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Here’s the chart—with the labor share (in blue, measured on the left) and the top 1% share (in red, on the right):

    Sorry, it won’t let me post an image in the comments. I’ll try to find another way.

    But here’s a link to the labor share, with bottom 50% and 90% shares: https://anticap.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/labors-declining-shares/


  3. Risk Analyst
    December 8, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Unfortunately the NIPA data is accounting based and as the top billionaires command more capital they can sprint ahead in a Piketty way that is not measured here. If you drill down on the Forbes magazine website that is obsessed with and provides all sorts or information on top billionaires, there are tables of their wealth and even estimates of day to day changes. The stock market rally this week has make Larry Ellison at least one billion dollars richer, and when one divides that by the number of households in the US, it highlights the power mismatch.

  4. Carlo
    December 8, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    All they’ve lost…?

  5. December 11, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    1) The great economist John Maynard Keynes thought a 15-hour work week could be enough.  He wrote in 1938 long before the Internet!2) In 2015, Anna Coote proposed reducing the work week to 30 hours.  You can read an introduction to her book “Time on Our Side” on the Internet.

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