Compensation by Counties for 2009

The BEA released their breakdown of pay, or county compensation by industry for 2009. For all U.S. workers, total compensation contracted 3.2% for 2009. Compensation declined in two-thirds of the 3,113 counties in the U.S. Can you say out of a job and broke? The report is worth reading just for the maps. Below is the BEA percent change county compensation map for 2009.

Worker Costs for March 2010

The March 2010 employee costs report was released today. The average wage is $20.67/hr. Benefits costs average $9.71/hr. This brings wages and benefits employer costs to a whopping total (sic) of $29.71/hr. Believe this or not, state and local government workers are the last holdouts in terms of getting good benefits.

Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $27.73 per hour worked in March 2010.

Productivity - Wage Gap Grows

Labor Department announced today that productivity of U.S. workers rose 6.4% in the second quarter of 2009. Productivity is measured by output per hours of workers. The largest increase since the third quarter of 2003.

Here is the kicker:

The huge increase was due to hours working declined faster than output.

Oh, wait there is more:

Hourly compensation in the nonfarm business sector increased 0.2 percent in the second quarter of 2009, compared to a decrease of 2.4 percent one quarter earlier. When the 1.3 percent rise in consumer prices was taken into account, real hourly compensation fell 1.1 percent in the second quarter of 2009 (seasonally adjusted annual rates).

So, wages are not even competing up with inflation.

We have the productivity-wage gap growing. We have hours worked falling. We have real hour compensation decling.

This all translate to more destruction of the middle class and more income inequality. Our economic growth model is broken, as Dr. Palley argues, and this report is just another example of that.

I am adding these quotes from this news story because, in my opinion, show the total disregard for the survival of the middle class:

"It's good because it helps keep inflation low; labor costs are pretty benign," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg, Florida.