In my new paper on trends in wages in 2015, I discuss the resurgence of the growth in inequality. The main story of 2015 wage trends is that they were very unequal—so much so that the fastest growth in wage inequality between men happened in 2015.
Wage inequality can be measured in a number of ways. For example, there’s the growth of the top 1 percent compared to the bottom 90 percent. For that, we can look at Social Security wage data and find that from 1979 to 2014, wages at the top grew nearly 150 percent, while the bottom grew less than 17 percent. That’s a really stark difference, but we don’t have data yet that would allow us to see what happened in 2015.
Using the Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group (CPS-ORG), we can look at what happened to wages in 2015 at every decile and the 95thpercentile (but no higher because of data limitations). There are two key ways gaps we can look at within those data limitations. One compares the middle to the bottom (the 50/10 wage ratio) and the other compares the top to the middle (the 95/50 wage ratio). In my paper, I show how the 50/10 wage ratio has been fairly steady for the last 15 years. In fact, for men, the 50/10 wage ratio for men was about the same in 2015 as it was in the late 1970s.
– Economic Policy Institute