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Skilled Work, Without the Worker - August 18, 2012
The current federal minimum wage is seven dollars and
twenty-five cents per hour. For an
employee working 40 hours per week for 52 weeks that amounts to an annual
before-tax income of $15,080. By comparison the official poverty level for
a family of two is $15,130 or $23,050 for a family of four. The minimum wage does not support a high
standard of living by any stretch of the imagination. However, just imagine how bad things would be
for workers without the minimum wage.
The U.S. job market is showing signs of improvement if the
latest data are accurate. On Friday the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate has fallen
to a three-year low of 8.5%. Of
particular note is that private sector employment was up more than expected in
December. Tall of this could just be a
one-month data fluke, but it is also encouraging that the number of new jobless
claims has been declining recently as well.
The data come from the most recent survey of the Census Bureau's American Community Survey via the Minnesota Population Center. For a link to other great graphics see, "Perfecting the visual presentation of information."
Thanks to Bart-man for the link.
The following chart highlights my amazing ability to time the market. The shaded areas represent NBER recessions, the first vertical red line is the date I graduated from college, the second is the date that I completed graduate school.