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Lower Wages for Young Workers

Young adults entering the workforce are not seeing the wages they have in the past.

Flickr User Alex E. Proimos

Inflation-adjusted wages for young workers new to the workforce were lower in 2011 than in 2000.

The data, analyzed by the Economic Policy Institute, reflects the wage erosion during the recent recession, and over the prior business cycle.

The entry-level hourly wage of a young male high school graduate in 2011 was 25.3% less than that for the equivalent worker in 1979, a drop of roughly $4.00 per hour in 2011 dollars.  Among women, the entry-level high school wage fell 14.2% in this period, and dropped by $1.64 in 2011 dollars.

“Young workers’ prospects are a barometer of the strength of the labor market and their misfortune reflects the very disappointing wage growth for all workers, college and high school graduates alike, in the last decade,” said EPI’s Lawrence Mishel.

Furthermore, EPI noted the wage gender gap persists among young workers – a gap of roughly 15 percent.

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