Wages

The vast majority of American households’ income comes from what workers receive in their paychecks – which is why wages are so important. Unfortunately, wages for most workers grew exceptionally slowly between 1979 and 2012, despite productivity—which essentially measures the economy’s potential for providing rising living standards for all—rising 64 percent. In other words, most Americans, even those with college degrees, have only been treading water—despite working more productively (and being better educated) than ever.

EARN groups provide key research and policy analysis describing how these trends have played out at the state and local levels, and what policymakers can do about it.

Publications

Better Pay for Honest Work Brief

Georgia’s economy is increasingly tilted toward the types of jobs that don’t pay workers enough to make ends meet or
keep their families out of poverty. They are food servers at local restaurants. Retail clerks selling products they can’t
afford. Home health aides helping the frail and disabled live with dignity. More Georgians are working in these types of
jobs than ever, and the state’s economy is leaving them behind. Wages are flat, workers put in extra hours at lowerquality
jobs, while inequality skyrockets. Georgia businesses and the economy struggle as a result, as working families
spend and invest less.

Fact Checking the Empire Center/American Action Forum Analysis of New York’s Proposed $15 Minimum Wage: Flawed Methods Produce Erroneous Results

The Empire Center and American Action Forum (EC/AAF) have released a report, “Higher Pay, Fewer Jobs,” predicting that Governor Cuomo’s proposal to phase New York’s minimum wage up to $15 by 2021 statewide (and by 2018 in New York City) would result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs across the state. But while the impact of a proposed minimum wage increase on New York’s workers, businesses and economy is an important question, the EC/AAF report sheds little light on the answer.

Women in Maryland Pay More in Taxes as a Share of Their Incomes

Because women in Maryland typically earn less than men, they are more likely to pay a higher percentage of their household income in state and local taxes. The state’s highest-income households – more likely to be headed by men – pay a lower percentage of their yearly earnings in state and local taxes compared to middle-class and low-income households, which are more likely to be headed by women.

Women in Maryland, on average, earn more than their counterparts in all but one other state. Yet for every dollar women in Maryland earn, men on average earn 13 cents more—a pay gap that leaves households headed by women thousands of dollars behind those headed by men. This means that the more than 1.4 million female workers in Maryland (49 percent of the workforce) tend to shoulder a larger burden than men do when it comes to supporting our schools, the construction of our roads, and other services.

A Fair Wage for Human Services Workers: Ensuring a government funded $15 per hour minimum wage for human services workers throughout New York State

The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Fiscal Policy Institute, and Human Services Council applaud Governor Cuomo’s proposed minimum wage increase. Full time work at a minimum wage should meet families’ basic needs, not leave them in or on the brink of poverty. The Governor’s proposal will enhance the opportunity of upward mobility for individuals and families across the state, while strengthening the State’s economy and decreasing the need for public assistance. This wage increase will be especially impactful for human services workers, given that over half are currently paid
under $15 per hour; 30 percent under $10.50.

More than 200,000 human services workers are the driving force behind services like afterschool programs, child welfare, early education, services for older adults, public assistance programs, and many others vital programs. Even with full-time hours, their current wages do not meet the basic needs of individuals and families in most areas of the State; low-wage human services workers are often eligible for the same benefits as the clients they serve.