Municipal Government

Profits Outstrip Wages in New York State

December 4, 2015
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel 

Business profits in New York State increased twice as much as workers’ wages over the last 15 years, according to an analysis released Dec. 1 by the Fiscal Policy Institute. From 2001 to 2013, it said, profits per worker went up by 61%, while average compensation per worker rose by 34%, less than the 35.5% increase in the Consumer Price Index during that period.

“Not only did labor compensation fail to keep up with the growth in profits, but it declined slightly in inflation-adjusted terms,” the report said. Much of that wage growth went to high-income executives and professionals, the report added: In 2011, according to state tax figures, the richest 1.5% of households received more in wages than all the households with incomes of less than $50,000—slightly more than half of those who filed tax returns that year.

The median wages for all workers rose by 29%, significantly less than inflation. It was slightly less for those with college degrees, and workers at the 20th percentile, with a median of $10.49 an hour, fell further behind. “These data confirm once again that most workers in New York have not been sharing in the fruits of the state’s economic growth over the past decade-and-a-half,” James Parrott, the institute’s chief economist, said in a statement. “An effective antidote to this disturbing disparity would be a sustained increase in the state’s minimum wage. Read more

December 4, 2015

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