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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

January 23, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Better education, lower wages

In 1968, about 37 percent of the total workforce had not completed high-school or received a GED. It 2012, this number had dropped to 9 percent. And yet the national minimum wage is 23 percent lower than its 1968 peak value when adjusted for inflation. So the axiom that better education translates into higher wages isn’t necessarily so.

The Economic Policy Institute released a new study of education and the lower-wage workforce today, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey. It focuses on the bottom fifth of wage distribution.

In 1968, this cohort had 48 percent completing high school or a GED, and another 17 percent with some college experience. By contrast, 78 percent were high-school grads in 2012 and 46 percent had college experience.

As economist Lawrence Mishel writes, “The bottom line is that minimum wage in 2013 is far less now than it was in 1968 despite the economy’s productivity more than doubling, and low-wage workers attaining far more education.”

And Don’t Miss: Don’t worry about robots, worry about D.C. | Bloomberg

Today’s Econ Haiku:

The Dow is falling

What on earth is spooking it?

Bull, meet China stop

 

 

Comments | More in Income/wages | Topics: minimum wage

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