Overworked Americans Need a Real Raise – and a Nice Nap

Are you working longer hours—or even two jobs—just to make ends meet? Are you missing your kids’ soccer games to meet demands at work? Or, worse yet, are you having trouble finding enough work to provide for yourself and your family?

All of these problems may have the same root cause: Wages (adjusted for inflation) just aren’t going up. According to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), even with the so-called economic recovery, most Americans have gone way too long without getting a real raise.

  • Working Hard for the Money. If you think you’re making more money than years ago, you should be proud of yourself for working longer and harder. With inflation-adjusted wages practically stagnant, almost all the increase in annual earnings since 1979 (!) has been because Americans are working longer hours. On average, working-age adults put in 7.8 percent more hours per year in 2016 than in 1979.
  • Low Wages, Long Hours. Adults from their 20s through their 50s who earn the least have increased their work hours the most. That’s because they need to work many more hours to afford basic necessities.
  • Many Workers Still Losing Out. The share of young and middle-aged men who have not found jobs has nearly doubled since 1979, while the share of women in these groups who did not work for wages has declined.