The working class finally gets a break
“Imagine a labor market where earnings growth for low-wage workers, such as those who work in retail and restaurants, had doubled in the past five years,” said Derek Thompson. Believe it or not, that’s the world we’re living in now. The Labor Department reported last week that the unemployment rate fell to a 50-year low, but wage growth stalled. Most of the media picked up on that latter part. But in reality, economists have found that wage growth has been “truly stagnant only for workers in high-wage industries, such as medicine and consulting.” For low-wage workers, earnings are growing twice as fast as for those at the top. A tight labor market and state-by-state minimum wage hikes have actually done wonderful things for workers at the low end. Hardly anyone acknowledges this because it’s a fraught subject for both parties. For Democrats, even though wages have very little to do with the president, “the idea that low-income workers could be benefiting from a 2019 economy feels dangerously close to giving the president credit for something.” On the other hand, Republicans don’t want to be caught touting the virtues of minimum-wage laws. So nobody wants to talk about the good economic news: For low-wage workers, we’ve really had a spectacular recovery.