For the first year since the recession, median household incomes did not decline in 2012. But it's hardly a reassuring picture. Incomes were flat despite the economic recovery and big gains in the stock market. That's a troubling aspect about today's labor market. It's four years since the official end of the recession and many households are worse off than when it started.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray has vetoed a controversial "living wage" bill that would have forced large retailers such as Wal-Mart to pay a 50 percent premium on the district's $8.25 per hour minimum wage.
Economist Tyler Cowen has some advice for what to do about America's income inequality: Get used to it. In his latest book, Average Is Over, Cowen lays out his prediction for where the U.S. economy is heading, like it or not:
"I think we'll see a thinning out of the middle class," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "We'll see a lot of individuals rising up to much greater wealth. And we'll also see more individuals clustering in a kind of lower-middle class existence."
The other day, I was interviewing an economist who studies the effect college majors have on peoples' income. He was telling me that women often make decisions that lead them to earn less than they otherwise might.
Women are overrepresented among majors that don't pay very well (psychology, art, comparative literature), and underrepresented in lots of lucrative majors (most fields in engineering).