The State of Working Pennsylvania 2016

This is a divisive time in America. One contributing factor is nearly 40 years of economic stagnation, with some workers, families and communities going backwards economically. Particularly when political leaders fail to offer those hurt by a restructuring economy a realistic promise of better days, anger and despair can spread and undermine the fabric of our society. Some may even be lead to resent “other” groups—to think that their lack of progress results from the undue gains made by another group.

The State of Working Pennsylvania 2016 documents the reality of difficult economic times for many groups. It tells a fairly simple story: most Pennsylvania workers have shared little of the economic gains of the last four decades because a tiny slice at the top has garnered so much of those gains. Whatever group people see themselves belonging to, in many cases that group has not done well. But our numbers also validate that most of those “other” groups have not done well either. The data show that if you think some “other” group is unfairly receiving some of the economic well-being that is rightfully yours, you are mostly wrong—unless that “other” group is the highest-income 1 percent.