Paychecks For Young Adults Getting Slimmer

Young adults may be facing their own version of “The Hunger Games” when entering the workforce today because they’re probably going to be hungry for more money.

Wages for young workers have been declining for more than a decade. They fell off a cliff during the Great Recession to levels not seen since the 1970s for certain groups of entry-level workers, according to new data from center-left think tank the Economic Policy Institute.

(OK, maybe it’s not exactly “The Hunger Games” just yet. In that dystopian future, depicted in a trilogy of novels and now a movie, a reality TV show follows teens fighting to their death, with the winner earning food for his/her home state. But you get our point.)

Not surprisingly, the news is worse for those with less education; and the pay gap between entry level men and women no matter what the education level is still alive and well.

Entry-level wages for high school graduates were actually lower than they were in the 1970s. For college grads, starting wages were below what their counterparts pocketed in the late 1990s. Today, the average wage for all these young adults, no matter education level, is about $15 an hour.

And whether they have a college degree or not, women still aren’t bringing home as much bacon as the men, but the gap has been narrowing. The good news, unfortunately, is partly attributable to the fact that the guys are getting paid less because of the economy.

“When the labor market is strong for workers the prospects for young workers are very strong, and when the labor market is weak their prospects are very weak,” maintained the Institute’s president Lawrence Mishel about the data that’s part of his forthcoming book ‘The State of Working America” due out in August. “The recent decade affirms this general finding, as the wages of entry-level workers have fared extremely poorly during this period of general wage stagnation.”

Here’s a breakdown of the numbers:

The entry-level hourly wage of a young male high school graduate in 2011 was 25.3 percent less than that for the equivalent worker in 1979, a drop of roughly $4.00 per hour in 2011.
Among women, the entry-level high school wage fell 14.2 percent over the same period, and dropped by $1.64 last year.
Wages for high-school educated women are still far below those of their male counterparts, a gap of 15 percent.
In 2011 the hourly wage of entry-level male college graduates was just a bit over $1.00 higher than in 1979, a rise of 5.2 percent over thirty-two years.
Women college grads did better, with their wages growing by 15.4 percent, or $2.50, from 1979 to 2011.
The gender pay gap among this group, however, still persists. The hourly wage for college educated men was $21.68 in 2011, compared with $18.80 for women.

Too bad young adults don't qualify for child ticket prices anymore. Adult tickets for the upcoming "The Hunger Games" movie are going for $11 a pop.


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  • by Pete Location: Grifton on Mar 8, 2012 at 04:22 PM
    Jingle Jingle more change from Odunga.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2012 at 08:13 AM
    Corporate America is driving down wages for all workers at the same time they're recording record profits and paying out record dividends to the investor class. With 2 college degrees, I'm making $21k a year GROSS and trying to support kids off it. Don't talk to me about class warfare - my family's already a civilian casualty. Come November, I am with the 99%ers.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2012 at 08:21 AM in reply to
      And so you're voting for Obumer who has been driving this train for the past 4 years.......gonna get your belly full of that hope and change and live to regret it too. Corporate America will get back on track when Big Brother backs off....it's the America way not Obumer's socialist dream that made this country successful.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2012 at 01:30 PM in reply to
        News Flash Nimrod....this has been going on long BEFORE OBAMA, Morons like you are so busy trying to blame Obama you lose sight of whats actually going on around you, enough is enough!
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Mar 8, 2012 at 09:41 AM in reply to
      Well, the only corportate companies making record profits is based on the stock exchange and whats paid to one's 401K retirement plan....however, GE, didn't pay taxes in the US since they moved to China to avoid Obamas big EPA initiative to force corps over seas. And of course, the CEO is one of Obama's biggest campaign contributor...isn't that great, he supports Obama and the DNC. Isn't Obama that guys promoting class warfare? I think you shot yourself in the foot, its bleedin! You wanted hope and change, you got what you voted for. Don't whine here, I warned folks here about Obama and his green policies. Wellcome to the new green! And go join the 99s at OWS and bring the kids too....MBOB
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2012 at 06:17 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        Ha Ha...speaking of Morons....enter Obama Snake Oil Company, right on cue!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:54 AM in reply to
      May I ask what are your degrees in?
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2012 at 01:30 PM in reply to
        Its in BS.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2012 at 01:17 PM in reply to
      less pay higher gas prices ,, thank you obama any GOP gets my vote
      • reply
        by Bumper Sticker on Mar 8, 2012 at 06:18 PM in reply to
        ANYTIME A REPUBLICAN COMPLAIN ABOUT HIGH GAS PRICES....PUNCH THEM IN THE MOUTH!
  • by Thanks Bubba Bush on Mar 8, 2012 at 08:05 AM
    It's supply and demand. When employers interview 100 applicants for every job why beg? There are 201.7 million 18-66 year old (working age) Americans according to the 2010 census. In January 2009 67.6 million in this group were not working. In January 2012 74.2 million are not working, an increase of 6.6 million non-working 18-66 year old Americans over the 3 years. 15.7 million were the "measured unemployed 7.8% of January 2009". 16.7 million are the "measured unemployed 8.3% of January 2012", an increase of one million "measured unemployed". We see there are a net 5.6 million new unemployed not measured in the 8.3% figure.
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Mar 8, 2012 at 09:43 AM in reply to Thanks Bubba Bush
      I thought hope and change was a good thing, what happened? Oh, that blaming Bush thing....sort of like "you go girl", there is time to let it go, long gone with the Obama song while you watch Rosanne Barr in a thong...ain't pretty and it doesn't do any good.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2012 at 07:51 AM
    Nothing trickled down to me.....
  • by MC Jamal Location: mean streets on Mar 8, 2012 at 07:03 AM
    Blame it on the past generation,they already got all the money now the generation coming up has to do without.Trickle down,if you believe that ride through the projects
  • by shonuff on Mar 8, 2012 at 04:53 AM
    They are for some of the older adults also. Uncle Sam is getting more and more of it every year.
  • by McIntosh Location: The South on Mar 8, 2012 at 04:34 AM
    Don't blame Clinton, Bush or even Obama. Blame YOURSELF if you don't have a decent job. Did you work hard in high school? Did you prepare for college or a trade? Did you party and waste time getting high? Did you just hang out with friends waiting for the American Idol audition? Then you can only blame yourself. It's not the government's responsibility to provide you with a "well-paying" job.
    • reply
      by College Grad on Mar 8, 2012 at 06:57 AM in reply to McIntosh
      Well said. My roomate was a partier in college, we graduated from high school the same year. Neithless to say, he is still in college living off his parents and partying like crazy. I graduated 3 years ago. He's been in 7. Kids these days have nothing to work for. With government assistance available, they have no drive or motivation to make something of themselves. They know they are going to be taken care of no matter what and that there is only really hard times for the working man this day in time, because he has to support his own family, and everyone that is on government assistance. It's all BS!! Eliminate welfare, and problem solved. People will find work, they won't have a choice. Work or starve!!
      • reply
        by McIntosh on Mar 8, 2012 at 12:39 PM in reply to College Grad
        Congratulations to you! You, and your parents, must be very proud of your success!
  • by Mr. America Location: downeast on Mar 8, 2012 at 04:30 AM
    Hope and Change....That's all that needs to be said
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2012 at 07:51 AM in reply to Mr. America
      Hope and Change has nothing to do with it, this started long before Obama.
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil Co on Mar 8, 2012 at 09:44 AM in reply to
        He is right, this hope and change, hope you believe now!
      • reply
        by Uncle Sam on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:35 AM in reply to
        Your man Obama gave 50 billion to GM,think about that, if given to the general public would make 50,000,that's right 50 thousand millionaires instantly.This is just one example there are hundreds in just three short years,so stop trying to push all blame to someone else.Stop drinking the kool-aid and wise up,for your own sake.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2012 at 01:35 PM in reply to Uncle Sam
          Yea, we could have used that 50 billion to start a Moon Colony. That would be one heck of a commute to go to work.
    • reply
      by And this is from a right-wing website on Mar 8, 2012 at 08:11 AM in reply to Mr. America
      Mr. America....I know you just can't bring yourself to entertain the notion that Obama is doing anything right, but here's a great picture for you: http://reflectionsofarationalrepublican.com/2012/02/03/bush-vs-obama-unemployment-january-2012-jobs-data/ )
      • reply
        by Mr. America on Mar 8, 2012 at 09:24 AM in reply to And this is from a right-wing website
        Lies all lies and the sad thing is you believe anything you hear from your commander and chief.Open your eyes,it's supposed to be a utopia from all the money that Obama has thrown away.In truth most of the money is unaccounted for,gone to various unions and Obama backers.If you were old enough to have seen any of this country in the recent past you would know how great it once was,this man has done damage that will take generations to overcome.
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil Co on Mar 8, 2012 at 09:47 AM in reply to And this is from a right-wing website
        Manipulation of the numbers when the reality is 15 million, more than in the history of this nation, are out of work due to hope and change obamagas. If you voted for it, don't whine or defend it now, too late, you blew it. When gas is 5 dollars a gallon just think of all those poor saudis who can now afford a new Lexus...and he thanks you.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2012 at 04:24 AM
    get use to living on less. you had better be saving and investing too
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:40 AM in reply to
      No saving or investing....I am on the "Work til you Die" retirement plan.
  • by WhyILoveobama on Mar 8, 2012 at 03:47 AM
    Brought to you by Rebok Insane Amabo!
    • reply
      by W hat ? on Mar 8, 2012 at 07:57 AM in reply to WhyILoveobama
      In 2011 the hourly wage of entry-level male college graduates was just a bit over $1.00 higher than in 1979, a rise of 5.2 percent over thirty-two years. Women college grads did better, with their wages growing by 15.4 percent, or $2.50, from 1979 to 2011. I dont think Obama has been in office since 1979.
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