Wednesday, July 25, 2012

unreal ideals

 One of the most cherished ideals is the notion that hard work pays off. As a worker improves his efficiency, he increases the economic output of his employer while reducing his employer’s costs and expanding its profits. In theory, as the employer increases production with lower costs, the resulting savings from these productivity gains are passed along to the worker in the form of higher wages and additional job creation. In theory, productivity gains—measured by the total amount of goods and services produced by each worker—should be accompanied by wage increases.Unfortunately, that is not the reality.

A new study from the N.C. Budget and Tax Center confirms what a lot of worker advocates have been saying for some time: average North Carolina workers are working harder and more productively than ever but their their wages are stagnant or falling. North Carolina’s workers output per worker (measured by the state’s share of real Gross Domestic Product)5 increased dramatically between the formal end of each recession (the trough) and 30 months into the recovery (the most recent wage data available). Yet inflation-adjusted median wages (in 2011 dollars) have either stagnated or fallen over the same period. Workers are not being rewarded for their more efficient work and increased output.

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