EPI Releases Preview of State of Working America

September 3, 2008 – The average American worker is worse off now than they were when the recession ended in 2001, according to The Economic Policy Institute’s The State of Working America 2008/2009 (http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/excerpt.html). The report finds despite growth in productivity, there has been weak job growth and stagnant or falling household income.

There has been a 1.1 percent decline in labor force participation, which translates to about 1.4 million people who could otherwise have been working or actively job-hunting, according to the report.

“If job growth from 2000 to 2007 had matched the 1990s cycle, the economy would have added 7 million more jobs than it did,”s said co-author Heidi Shierholz. “The weak jobs situation means that the potential of millions of productive, hard-working Americans has been left untapped — a profound disservice to them, their families, and the economy as a whole.”

Another telling finding from the report is the growth in income inequality among Americans, with the real income for the median family falling by 1.1 percent from 2000-2006, while income more than tripled for the top 1 percent.