Thursday, September 15, 2016

Jared Bernstein on income gains versus income deciles

Jared Bernstein - my comments on the CBPPS census data press call. Here's the important bit:

So we find in today’s data that while households throughout the pay scale saw real gains, the largest gains accrued to those at the households at the bottom of the income scale. I’m sure you’ve heard the topline income number: real median HH income up 5.2 percent, the largest one-year gain on record in this series, which starts in the mid-1960s, and the first real gain since 2007.

But real HH income went up 8 percent at the 10th percentile and 6 percent at the 20th percentile. Poverty rates for whites fell about one percentage point; the rate for blacks and Hispanics fell twice that much (though from much higher levels).

Meanwhile, income gains at the 90th and 95th percentiles were between 2 and 4 percent, below those of lower income households. This too is a familiar pattern of the benefits of full employment. It’s not that tight labor markets don’t help the wealthy. It’s that they tend to do well in good times in bad, while less well-off households depend on tight job markets to give them the bargaining clout they otherwise lack.

So a big part of the story today is that strong labor markets make a big difference in helping to connect low- and middle-income working families to the broader economy. That also points the way forward. I’m glad to see a great year in these data, but middle and low-income HH’s need a lot more than one good year.

Which seems to suggest that monetary policy has a differential effect on low- and high-income earners, doesn't it?

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