Most middle-class Pennsylvania families have seen their wages and income stagnate since 2000 even though productivity in the economy has grown, according to the Keystone Research Center’s annual State of Working Pennsylvania report.
Growth in the size of the overall economic pie could have supported rising living standards for all Pennsylvania workers, Keystone’s researchers wrote, but an outsized share of the benefits went to the top 1 percent of earners, preventing broad-based prosperity and slowing down the economic recovery. Neither the “lost decade” for working families since 2000 nor a recent increase in unemployment and the shortage of jobs in Pennsylvania occurred by accident. They were the result of poor policy choices that have been unfriendly to working families, the report concludes.
The State of Working Pennsylvania 2012 represents the Keystone Research Center’s deepest and most comprehensive recent look at the Pennsylvania economy and how it has performed for working and middle-class families. Their central findings are straightforward: The Pennsylvania economy is performing poorly from the perspective of middle- and low-income families—over the last year, the last decade, and the last third of a century. Although growth in productivity and the size of the overall economic pie have been sufficient to support rising living standards, wages and incomes for most families have stagnated—for those with full-time jobs as well as those who can’t find as much paid employment as they want.
Click here to read the full report.