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  • Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    Only 25% of Americans have good jobs

    From the Center for Economic and Policy Research:

    The U.S. economy is much richer today than it was at the end of the 1970s. On a per person basis, inflation-adjusted national income grew from about $24,000 in 1979 to about $38,500 in 2004. As a result, on average, Americans are 60 percent richer today than they were at the end of the 1970s. The main question examined in this report is how well the U.S. economy has done in converting this economic bonanza into good jobs.

    The short answer is “not very well.” If we define a “good” job as one that pays at least $16 dollars per hour, offers health insurance that is at least partly paid by the employer, and provides a pension plan, then the share of U.S. workers in good jobs hardly changed between 1979 (24.6 percent) and 2004 (25.2 percent), despite the 60 percent increase in income per person over the same period. More importantly, if we control for significant improvements in the human capital of the U.S. workforce —today’s workforce is, on average, significantly older and much better-educated than the country’s workforce at the end of the 1970s— the economy’s ability to generate good jobs has actually fallen by about 25 to 30 percent.

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