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News from EPI Labor Day by the Numbers: How the Economy Has Performed for Workers This Year

A new Economic Policy Institute fact sheet—How the Economy Has Performed for Workers This Year—lays out the state of wages, workers’ rights, the economy, and the labor market in advance of the Labor Day holiday.

Labor Day is a time to honor America’s workers and their contributions to the economy. Unfortunately, while the nation as a whole continues to recover from the Great Recession, the recovery’s benefits have not yet reached many Americans in important ways:

  • Unemployment rates remain too high overall, and far too high for African Americans, Hispanics, and young graduates.
  • Wages have continued their 35-year trend of broad-based stagnation.
  • The buying power of the minimum wage continues to erode each year that policymakers refuse to raise it.
  • Declining collective bargaining is harming workers’ wage prospects.
  • Far too many workers have to contend with unpredictable schedules and no paid leave.

The good news is that these outcomes aren’t inevitable. They were created by policy choices—policy choices made intentionally to benefit those with the most power and wealth. But we can have different outcomes if we make different policy choices to benefit low- and moderate-income Americans. There are a number of policies we can pursue to raise Americans’ pay and ensure that prosperity is broadly shared. In the near term, the most pressing of these policy choices is to have the Federal Reserve continue to help the recovery reach still-struggling Americans by keeping interest rates low.

View the fact sheet on EPI experts are available for interviews on these and other topics.