Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

February 4, 2014

MARCUS: Hoosier wage gap widens

Some-times it seems our political leaders know only four-letter words like JOBS. They often precede this with another four letter word: GOOD. What is a good job? Presumably, one that pays well, offers important benefits and provides reliable security over time.

Today, the emphasis in Indiana and most of the United States is on the number of jobs. Although the unemployment rate continues to fall, the nation, as of December 2013, was still 649,000 private sector jobs short of the level six years earlier.

This sounds worse than it is. That deficit of jobs is just -0.56 percent; for Indiana, however, the deficit percent is twice as high (-1.12 percent), or 28,900 jobs short of December 2007. Only 13 states had more jobs this past December than they did at the start of the recession in 2007.

Yet, there is much more to the story. How much are jobs paying? Is Indiana gaining or losing ground when we turn to the wages and salaries paid to workers?

The average hourly wage in December ‘07 for the U.S. was $21.37 and rose by $2.94 (13.8 percent) to $24.31 in December ‘13. Indiana’s average hourly earnings rose by $2.18 or 10.7 percent (31st among the states in the nation) over the same period.

The wage gap between Indiana and the U.S. widened during the recession and the recovery period to-date. Where we were $1 per hour behind the nation in ‘07, that gap is now $1.76. Thus the buying power of our workers, relative to those in other states, is reduced.

But wait, there is more to be considered. The Consumer Price Index for the nation rose by 11 percent from Dec.’07 to Dec.’13. The average worker in the U.S. had a slight increase in real hourly earnings (approximately 2.8 percent) while the Hoosier worker experienced a small decline in real hourly earnings (0.3 percent).

Still, we don’t have the full story of the past few years. A worker’s take-home pay depends on the hourly rate times the number of hours worked. In the U.S., there was a decline in the average number of hours worked per week from 35 to 34.8 — that’s 12 minutes a week. In Indiana, we went from 35.7 hours per week to 34.9, a 48 minute reduction in average weekly working hours. More part-time jobs? Less over-time? I don’t know.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • THEIR VIEW: Mo-ped law long overdue We’ve all seen them on the streets, and their popularity is only growing. Mo-peds have coasted in a legal grey area for years in Indiana.A lack of registration, testing and licensure allowed those without other means of transport to join other vehicl

    August 20, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Quality of life and leaders both matter It was with some astonishment and much disappointment I read in the Aug. 5 edition of the Pharos-Tribune that one of our local city councilmen was quoted as saying that previous efforts in Logansport to use Tax Increment Financing money for quality o

    August 20, 2014

  • RAMPELL: Here comes Entrepreneur Barbie WASHINGTON — Lego’s groundbreaking female-scientists set sold out almost immediately after it was released this month. But never fear, fans of feminist toys: A new Barbie doll, now in stock, is also shattering the plastic ceiling.Yes, that swan-necke

    August 20, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Police force turning into military? The images this week of Ferguson, Mo., in the wake of the civil unrest caused by the death of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown have been shocking to say the least. Were the dateline removed from the pictures, one could easily imagine t

    August 19, 2014

  • MARCUS: Hoosier workers not gaining on the nation A few readers of the South Bend newspaper have sent emails complaining that either they do not understand my columns or that I waste their time by not sticking to the facts. That I include some of my conclusions from the data seems to be an irritant.

    August 19, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: Stock market guru will work for food At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion dollars. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has becom

    August 19, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Craft brewers and vintners return to fair Brad Hawkins felt right at home hawking his beer at the Indiana State Fairgrounds last week. When Hawkins opened his Salt Creek Brewery in a converted filling station in tiny Needmore three years ago, some tee-totaling neighbors protested he was putt

    August 18, 2014

  • LYONS: Climate change deniers resort to attacks Recently a friend posted a video on Facebook that he asserted would demolish the Godless theory of evolution. On it, a fellow sitting in a pickup and wearing a backward baseball cap smugly explained that Darwinian evolution contradicts the Second Law

    August 18, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Depression a disease, not a mood Robin Williams had it all.A picture perfect family — the supportive, doting wife and three loving children.Talent beyond belief.The admiration of the masses.Riches and all the luxuries they provide.Yes, Robin Williams sure did have it all.But he had

    August 17, 2014

  • KNISELY: Heading back to school It never ceases to amaze me the wildly different views my nieces have of getting ready to go back to school and actually going back to school every year. As school time approaches, they are ecstatic about all the stuff they get to do. One of those th

    August 17, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Does Indiana need a statewide water management plan and an administrator to implement it?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Deadly Landslides in Japan Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Arrests Witnessed in Ferguson Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape Texas Gov. Perry: Indictment 'a Political Act' US Officials: Video Shows American's Beheading Video Shows Ferguson Cop Months Before Shooting Heavy Rains Flood Arizona Roads US Trying to Verify Video of American's Killing FBI Director Addresses Ferguson Shooting in Utah Raw: Police at Scene of St. Louis Shooting Police: 2 Calif. Boys Planned School Shooting NOLA Police Chief Retires Amid Violent Crimes
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.