Long before the pandemic, U.S. workers’ productivity and their median pay, which once rose in tandem, went through an acrimonious divorce. Compensation, especially in some of the country’s fastest-growing industries, has stagnated, while the costs of housing, health care, and education decidedly have not. The federal minimum wage, stuck at $7.25 since 2009, is worth 70% of what it was in 1968, and about a third of what it would be had it kept pace with productivity.
How the American Worker Got Fleeced
Over the years, bosses have held down wages, cut benefits, and stomped on employees’ rights. Covid-19 may change that.
Story by Josh Eidelson
Data analysis and graphics by Christopher Cannon