Inside these posts: Wages

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Middle class not better off than their parents

Are you better off than your parents? Probably not if you’re in the middle class.

Incomes for 90 percent of Americans have been stuck in neutral, and it’s not just because of the Great Recession. Middle-class incomes have been stagnant for at least a generation, while the wealthiest tier has surged ahead at lighting speed. Get the full story »

Senate bill would raise Ill. minimum wage to $10

From the Chicago Sun-Times | Senate Democrats proposed raising the state’s minimum wage in a bid that eventually would boost pay for the working poor to more than $10 an hour. Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) introduced legislation that would raise Illinois’ $8.25-an-hour minimum wage by 50 cents plus the rate of inflation annually until it reaches the equivalent in today’s dollars of what $1.60-an-hour was in 1968 — currently about $10.03 an hour.Get the full story >>

GM, Chrysler salaried workers to get bonuses

Most of the 26,000 white-collar workers at General Motors Co. will get performance bonuses of 4 to 16 percent of their base salaries this year, but payments to a small number could be 50 percent or more, the company confirmed late Thursday.

Chrysler Group LLC also will give bonuses to its white-collar staff, with payments expected on Friday. Both companies needed government bailouts in 2008 and 2009 to stay in business and make it through bankruptcy protection. Get the full story »

Signs point to better raises this year

U.S. workers have reason to hope for slightly better pay raises this year, a shift that could add momentum to the economic recovery.

This could mean average wage gains of as much as 3 percent in 2011, compared with 1.7 percent in 2010–enough to boost consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy, but not so much that it would stoke concerns of an inflationary spiral. Get the full story »

U.S. wages take sharp fall as recession lingers

Even at times of high unemployment in the past, wages have been very slow to fall, but not in this recession. To an extent rarely seen since the Great Depression, wages for a swath of the U.S. labor force this time have taken a sharp and swift fall.

Many laid-off workers who have found new jobs are taking pay cuts or settling for part-time work when they get new ones, sometimes taking jobs far below their skill levels.

Economists had wondered how far this dynamic would go in this recession, and now the numbers are starting to show it: Between 2007 and 2009, more than half the full-time workers who lost jobs that they had held for at least three years and then found new full-time work by early last year reported wage declines, according to the Labor Department. Thirty-six percent reported the new job paid at least 20 percent less than the one they lost. Get the full story »

Cook County employees see wages fall

Cook County workers saw their average compensation decline by 0.3 percent in 2009 to $67,791 per job, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

When adding the compensation of all workers, Cook County experienced a decline of 5.2 percent to 1.7 million. Cook was among the more than 2,000 counties — about two-thirds — that experienced compensation declines in 2009. Get the full story »

Gender pay gap is the smallest on record

From USA Today | Women earned 82.8 percent of the median weekly wage men do in the second quarter of 2010, the smallest pay gap ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The dramatic gains in the last decade — women earned 76.1 percent of men’s wages in the same period a decade ago — has been attributed, in part, to hits men’s wages are taking in the recession. Get the full story >>

New Illinois law protects workers owed wages

Employers who try to skip out on paying wages to their workers will face new fines and possible jail time under a measure Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Friday.

The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, establishes a new small claims division in the Illinois Department of Labor where workers could try to recoup wages of $3,000 or less.

Higher wages to end cheap gadgets from China

The era of cheap manufacturing in China is coming to an end.

Rising wages spurred by a series of labor disputes at factories in China, coupled with the country’s just-announced decision to allow its currency to rise in value  — making it more expensive to build things there –  will lead to higher prices for tech gadgets, cut into corporate bottom lines and force companies to rethink manufacturing strategies anchored in China, the world’s assembly line. Get the full story »