In 2014, the US economy added more jobs than in any year since the 1990s. In fact, this longest streak of job growth on record has persisted into 2015. Inflation-adjusted wages are up by 1.4% annually over the last two years, more than twice the pace of the last recovery. But this is still not enough to make up for decades of subpar gains for middle-class families–a challenge shared by many other OECD economies. President Obama’s approach to what he has termed “middle-class economics” is about remedying this decades-long challenge for the future.
In the US, median incomes are up 17% since 1973. Two facts suggest that this increase falls far short of what we should have been able to accomplish: from 1948 to 1973 middle-class incomes rose 98%; and from 1973 to 2013 productivity increases should have allowed an ordinary worker to purchase 82% more per hour of work, well above the increase actually experienced by typical families.
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2015 OECD Yearbook
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