The chart above, created by Doug Short, illustrates graphically a key effect of how the economy is failing to provide the kind of remuneration a large percentage of Americans in the private sector were receiving not so long ago. The numbers come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which has been collecting these data for the past 50 years.
If you look at nominal dollars, average hourly earnings have been on a steady climb for the entire period. But once inflation is accounted for, it's not a pretty picture.
Short points out that there's another ugly trend: the average hours of work per week. These declined from around 39 hours in the mid-1960s to 33 hours when the Great Recession officially ended five years ago. "The post-recession recovery has seen a disappointingly trivial 0.7 bounce (that's 42 minutes)," he writes.
Jump below the fold for more charts and discussion.
In the charts above, I've highlighted the presidencies during this timeframe. My purpose is not necessarily to suggest political responsibility, but rather to offer some food for thought. I will point out that the so-called supply-side economics popularized during the Reagan administration (aka "trickle-down" economics), wasn't very friendly to production and nonsupervisory employees.No kidding.