Real hourly wages remained flat or fell for nearly all U.S. workers in 2014, including those with a college degree, according to an analysis of new wage data by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a liberal think tank.
"Last year was yet another year of poor wage growth for American workers," reads EPI's study, which looked at the most recent and available wage data by decile and educational attainment. Wage data was examined for workers in the bottom 10th percentile up to the 95th percentile.
In 2014, real wages among top earners fell by 1 percent at the 95th percentile and 0.7 percent at the 90th percentile, according to the analysis released Thursday. U.S. workers with either a four-year college degree or an advanced degree also saw their inflation-adjusted hourly wages drop by 1.3 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.
EPI research associate Thomas Palley wrote the report, which also serves as a primer on the how the Federal Reserve, or the Fed, works and offers a blueprint on how to make monetary policy more "job- and wage-friendly."
Over the three decades prior to the Great Recession, Palley says the Fed, the central bank of the United States, "consistently took care of Wall Street first while not caring much about Main Street."
"Since the Great Recession, there has been some shift toward helping ordinary Americans, but even more is needed, and we fervently hope that [Fed] Chair [Janet] Yellen sees this," said Palley, who also serves as AFL-CIO's senior economic policy adviser.
Three of Chicago's five mayoral contenders participated in a youth-led candidate forum Wednesday evening focused on issues that affect the lives of young people of color in the city. Progress Illinois was there for the event.
The Cook County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously passed legislation that aims to protect employee wages and force businesses to more closely follow labor laws.
Under the ordinance, companies or business owners found guilty of wage theft are barred for five years from obtaining Cook County procurement contracts, business licenses or property tax incentives. Also, companies pursuing business with the county will now have to certify compliance with federal and state wage and labor laws.
"[Wage theft] is unfair to hard-working employees and their families and it's unfair to competing businesses which are operating within the confines of the law," said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, shortly after Tuesday's vote. "The legislation passed today will make Cook County a national leader targeting wage theft."