Raising wages and strengthening and growing the middle class are among the most critical challenges facing the country today. Wages for the typical worker have hardly budged in four decades, as the vast majority of economic gains have gone to the rich.
The lack of wage growth has been a long-term problem, especially for communities that are struggling. In the Midwest, a region that some describe as having been left behind economically, the percentage of working-age adults who are employed is higher than the average share across the country. While the Midwest—along with the rest of the country—could use additional jobs, what is especially plaguing the region is a lack of strong wage growth. Since 2000, Midwestern workers have experienced the worst wage growth of any region in the country.The above excerpt was originally published in Center for American Progress.