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State of the American worker

Customer service employees at an L.L. Bean call center.

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: I know I'm not the only one working on Labor Day. A lot of people have told me they're going into the office 'cause they need the money. That might say something about wages in this country at the moment. And a new report backs it up. Marketplace's Jane Lindholm has more.


JANE LINDHOLM: "The State of Working America" is published every two years by independent think tank The Economic Policy Institute.

This year's edition is a pretty depressing read.

It suggests that although the US economy has grown significantly over the past several years, average income for workers has not.

Study co-author Sylvia Allegretto:

SYLVIA ALLEGRETTO:"There's a big disconnect. We've had some really good productivity numbers, a very productive workforce, but the gains are only flowing to those at the top."

The study found that in 1970, a 50-something year old worker with some college education earned the equivalent of about $48,000 a year.

That same worker earns $44,000 dollars today.

Thea Lee is the policy director for the AFL CIO. She says people are angry.

THEA LEE: "Even people who go to college and get a degree and work full time are still losing ground. And that's what's really troubling to folks, the sense that even when you play by the rules in this economy, if you're not in the top 5 percent, you're really struggling to make ends meet."

In Los Angeles, I'm Jane Lindholm, for Marketplace.

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