Although unemployment is low, it’s still tough out there for most American workers. Wages for the typical worker have hardly budged over the past 40 years, even as the costs of housing, health care and education have risen sharply. Younger workers in particular fare far worse than younger workers a generation ago.
It’s gotten so bad that median compensation (wages plus the value of employer benefits, such as health-care premiums or 401(k) contributions) for a 30-year-old now is basically the same as that of a 30-year-old three decades ago — despite being a richer, more productive, and more educated country than we were then.
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Director, Workforce Development Policy
Senior Fellow; Senior Adviser, American Worker Project