Despite all the signs that the economy is seeing drastic improvement over the past several years, many people still aren’t feeling the benefits. True, the recovery has been sluggish, with president Obama’s policies often becoming the target of vitriol from many in the media and political leadership. While the president does deserve fair criticism for what hasn’t worked, there are plenty of indicators pointing to problems with the system at large — not just the current administration’s policies — that are keeping many people from prosperity.
One those indicators has been uncovered by way of the United States Conference of Mayors, a nonpartisan group comprised of the head officials for cities across America with populations of more than 30,000, of which there are over 1,400. The group released the results of a study that took a look into the widening income gap and inequality, and found that though the country has regained the jobs that were lost during the recession, those jobs pay 23 percent less on average than they did prior to the recession.
It was found that the average annual wage in industries that lost jobs during the recession was $61,637, but the average for new jobs gained through the second-quarter of 2014 was a little more than $47,000. That accounts for more than $93 billion in lost wages, the lion’s share of which has been transferred to the top percent.
Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, part of the group’s leadership circle, says that the findings are troubling, and that the issue simply can’t be ignored by political leaders. “While the economy is picking up steam, income inequality and wage gaps are an alarming trend that must be addressed,” he said.
“The nation’s mayors have an obligation to do what we can to address issues of inequality in this country while Washington languishes in dysfunction.”