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.


Low wages, high turnover in Ohio’s home-care industry

Home-care aides — providers of hands-on care to older adults and people with disabilities — are one of Ohio’s fastest growing occupations, growing at more than five times the rate of overall jobs in the economy. Home-health and personal-care jobs continued to grow during the last two recessions, and the numbers of workers employed in the industry has nearly tripled since 2001. According to the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), Ohio now has approximately 86,000 home-care aides, including 66,000 home-health aides, and 20,000 personal-care aides.

Rapid growth of the home-care industry is largely good news. Given most people’s preference for in-home care and the fact that home-based services are less expensive than institutional care, growth of the home-care industry is largely a win-win.

However, the home care industry is riddled with high turnover rates, workforce vacancies and related quality-of-care issues. This is largely the result of low job satisfaction due to low wages, part-time and unpredictable hours, and a lack of benefits that come with the job. In order to serve the growing public demand for these services, while ensuring continuity and quality of care, policymakers must address the need for better wages and benefits in the industry.

The Minimum Wage in Massachusetts: Challenges & Opportunities

The Massachusetts economy is stronger when all working families can make ends meet. Unfortunately, since the 1970s, wages have generally stopped growing with the economy and many working families find it difficult to pay for basic needs. As shown in the graph below, hourly wages grew in tandem with productivity during the late 1940’s to the early 1970’s. During this period economic gains were broadly shared by the very workers who helped create this growth. Yet, after 1973, while productivity continued to grow, wages for most workers did not.

Long Since Due: An Increase in New Hampshire’s Minimum Wage

A measure now before the New Hampshire legislature seeks to strengthen the minimum wage and to begin to build an economy that works for everyone in the Granite State. More specifically, HB 1403 would raise New Hampshire’s minimum wage in two steps: from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour on January 1, 2015 and to $9.00 per hour on January 1, 2016. The measure would also require automatic annual cost of living adjustments, based on the Consumer Price Index, beginning in 2017.

This paper examines the proposed increase, beginning with a brief review of New Hampshire’s current minimum wage and then exploring how that wage compares to historical minimum wage levels, key standards of need, and other states’ wage floors. It next provides estimates of the number of New Hampshire workers who would be affected by the proposal and discusses some of its broader economic consequences. It concludes that raising New Hampshire’s minimum wage could help working families, local businesses, and the New Hampshire economy as a whole.

Left Out Working Women of Florida

  • May 8, 2014

Florida’s female workforce earned an average annual salary of $11,260 below their male counterparts in 2013, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics1. Five decades after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 women continue to earn 23.1% below men’s an average annual salary.