‘Top Charts’ reveal reality of U.S. economy

This year continued the economic recovery from the Great Recession. But while the economy has had 21 consecutive months with unemployment at or below 4%, the top line numbers do not tell the whole story.
The Economic Policy Institute released a series of graphs that help capture the reality of working people across the country.
In 2019, workers finally started to see to some wage gains, but it is going to take much more to raise living standards for wide swaths of the workforce.
EPI’s Top Charts of 2019 tells the story of how working people are doing in today’s economy.
After a slow recovery from the Great Recession, the country is quickly resuming our prerecession course of rising economic inequality—which has been worse for black workers.
By weakening workers’ ability to collectively bargain, refusing to raise a stagnant federal minimum wage, and giving out tax breaks to the richest Americans, policymakers have contributed to this increasing economic divide.
On the bright side, the evidence shows that progressive policies, such as the Fed’s prioritizing of full employment and states raising minimum wages, do make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.
In addition, striking teachers in multiple states have shown that calling attention to austerity—in their case, the disinvestment in America’s schools—can bring about real change.
One of the charts, shown above, highlights the role of union membership plays in reducing income inequality.

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