CBO Study Finds Middle Class Wages in Free Fall

April 27, 2007 – For many middle class families, wages are not only stagnant, they are taking a complete nose-dive. A report prepared for Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Jim Webb (D-VA) by the Congressional Budget Office found that roughly one-in-five workers saw their earnings fall by more than 25 percent between 2002 and 2003. About one-in-seven saw their earnings fall by more than 50 percent.

For workers with lower levels of education, the volatility in earnings was even more prevalent. Twenty-six percent of workers without a high school diploma saw their earnings decrease by at least 25 percent, and 16 percent saw their earnings drop by at least 50 percent.

For those who finished high school, nearly 21 percent saw their earnings drop by at least 25 percent and more than 12 percent saw their earnings drop by more than 50 percent.

The CBO used Social Security Administration records for their report, allowing them to cover more people and produce more reliable results.