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Real Earnings Growth Since 2000 Has Been Much Weaker And More Unequal Compared With The Late 1990s.

The typical worker’s real (inflation-adjusted) weekly earnings rose just 0.9 percent between 2000 and 2006, compared with 7.1 percent between 1996 and 2000. Moreover, while it was weak overall, earnings growth between 2000 and 2006 was faster in the upper half of the distribution than it was in the lower half, and earnings at the very bottom declined. In contrast, growth during the second half of the 1990s was uniformly strong across the wage distribution.
 [JEC Democratic staff calculations based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.]

Despite Strong Productivity Gains, Real Hourly Compensation Growth is Lagging.

Historically, economy-wide increases in workers’ pay have tended to track economy-wide increases in productivity (output per hour). However, while productivity in the nonfarm business sector rose by 18.0 percent between the first quarter of 2001 and the first quarter of 2007, real (inflation-adjusted) average hourly compensation (wages plus benefits) increased by only 9.1 percent over the same period.
[JEC Democratic staff calculations based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.]

Real Household Income Has Declined For All Income Groups Since 2000.

After adjusting for inflation, the income of a typical household fell by almost $1,300, or 2.7 percent, between 2000 and 2005, the latest year for which we have data. Households in the poorest fifth of the income distribution have experienced the greatest declines (7.5 percent), while those at the top experienced the smallest declines (1.0 percent).
[JEC Democratic staff calculations based on data from the Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce.]

Explosive Health Care Costs Are Squeezing Family Incomes.

Between 2005 and 2006, health insurance premiums rose at more than twice the rate of workers’ earnings. Between 2000 and 2006, the average monthly premium paid by workers with health coverage rose 57 percent.

[Kaiser Family Foundation, Employer Health Benefits 2006 Annual Survey, Exhibits 1.1 and 6.2.]

The Costs Of Raising A Family Are Higher Than Ever.  

Today the average family with two children under the age of 5 spends 11 percent of their budget on childcare, compared to 1 percent in their parents’ generation. Moreover, an increasing number of families face the dual burdens of caring for an elderly parent and raising their own children. A study of all family caregivers found that caregivers lost a lifetime estimated average of $659,000 in wage and pension wealth due to their caregiving responsibilities.

[MetLife Mature Market Institute, “The MetLife Juggling Act Study: Balancing Caregiving with Work and the Costs Involved,” November 1999; Tamara Draut, “Strapped: Why America’s 20- and 30- Somethings Can’t Get Ahead,” 2006.]

College Tuition Growth Continues To Outpace Inflation.

Over the past several years, tuition has risen at more than double the rate of inflation. Between the 2000-01 and 2005-06 academic years, average public college tuition and fees increased by 40 percent—the fastest rate of growth over any five-year period since the 1970s. Nearly two-thirds of college students graduate with debt, with the typical debt load approaching $20,000.

[Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor; The College Board, Trends in College Pricing 2005; National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education (]

June 14, 2007: Senate Democrats Show That Energy Efficient U.S. Families Spend $1,600 Less on Utilities and Gasoline, Bolster Case for Senate Energy Bill
June 14, 2007: Joint Economic Committee Hearing Reveals Work-Family Policies from Abroad Would Benefit U.S. Economy, Workers, and Families
May 24, 2007: New Analysis Reveals Raising Fuel Economy Standards Would Save American Families Thousands
February 28, 2007: Schumer Urges New Policies to Give Middle Class Families a Cushion in the Roller Coaster Economy
February 27, 2007: JEC Holds First Major Hearing on Wage Insurance
January 25, 2007: New Joint Economic Committee Report Highlights Critical Flaws of Bush Health Care Proposal
January 17, 2007: New Joint Economic Committee Report Reveals: Oil and Gas Royalty Relief Yields No Economic Benefit
June 14, 2007: Energy Efficiency Is a Bright Idea
May 24, 2007: Money in the Bank, Not in the Tank
May 22, 2007: The Economic Benefits of Investing in High-Quality Preschool Education
May 22, 2007: Assistance Available Through the Tax Code for Families with Children
May 17, 2007: Most Baby Boomers are Saving Enough, But Many are at Risk of Significant Shortfalls
March 2007: Meeting the Challenge of Household Earnings Instability
February 2007: Investing in Raising Children
February 2007: Investing in Families Taking Care of Elderly Parents
February 2007: Investing In a College Education
January 25, 2007: The President's Health Care Proposal: All Risk, No Reward
January 17, 2007: Billions in Offshore Royalty Relief for Oil and Gas Companies Buys Little for Taxpayers
June 14, 2007: Importing Success: Why Work-Family Policies from Abroad Make Economic Sense for the U.S.
May 16, 2007: Are the Explosive Costs of Elder Care Hurting Family Finances and Business Competition?
February 28, 2007: Meeting the Challenge of Income Instability
January 31, 2007: Ensuring Our Economic Future by Promoting Middle-Class Prosperity