Men who work full-time in America are not doing any better today than they were 40 years ago, according to the numbers. A new study of U.S. Census Bureau data shows the real median income of American men actually peaked in 1973, and has declined about 4.4 percent since then. Conversely, the real median income of American women peaked in 2007, and has dropped 2.8 percent since then. "Real" income means adjusted for inflation.
KTRH Money Man Pat Shinn took a closer look at the numbers. "If we look at the data since 1973, basically what's happened is wages have barely kept up with inflation," he says. "Inflation has risen by 432% over that time period, while wages have risen by 427%." Hence, the 4.4 percent difference in "real wages." The statistics also don't reflect increases in earnings at the higher-end of the wage spectrum. "It could be there's a whole lot more rich folks today than there were back in 1973, and that income for the lower-paid has not risen as much," says Shinn.
The study shows women's average income rose sharply until 2007, but Shinn says the decline since then is not because of the recession. "I think what happened is things have leveled off," he tells KTRH. "In other words, in an ideal world inflation and wages should basically equal each other." He points out that when you consider inflation has risen by a total of 432% since 1973, the 4.4 percent difference in wage growth really isn't very much. When asked if that deficit is cause for major concern in the years ahead, Shinn replies emphatically, "Absolutely not."