California's low-wage workers now earn less than in 1979

California’s low-wage workers now earn less than in 1979
Between 1979 and 2013, the productivity of California workers increased by 89 percent, but median hourly compensation (wages plus benefits), adjusted for inflation, increased only 3 percent.

Over the past 35 years, California's high-wage workers have seen steady increases in their paychecks. But low-wage workers, 4.8 million strong and about one-third of the state's workforce, earned less in inflation-adjusted dollars in 2014 than they did in 1979, according to an analysis from the University of California, Berkeley.

UC Berkeley researchers analyzing U.S. Census Bureau data at the campus's Center for Labor Research and Education found that low-wage , defined as those earning hourly wages of $13.63 or less, have seen steady declines in their inflation-adjusted buying power. This low-wage workforce, nearly three-quarters nonwhite and concentrated in two industries—retail trade, and restaurants and other food services—has also become older and more highly educated.

Teens made up 5 percent of low-wage workers in 2014, down from 16 percent in 1979, and 48 percent of low-wage earners in 2014 had attended some college, compared to 39 percent in 1979. The analysis also showed that 40 percent of the state's low-wage workers in 2014 were foreign-born.

"We found that low-wage workers in California are older and more educated than they were 30 years ago, and yet they've seen stagnant and even declining wages," said Annette Bernhardt, a visiting UC Berkeley professor of sociology and a senior researcher at the center. "The story of growing inequality is not just about the top 1 percent, it is also about the millions of low-wage workers and their families who struggle with economic insecurity every day."

Bernhardt and the study's other authors, Ian Perry and Lindsay Cattell, found that the top occupations of California's low-wage workers are retail sales workers; cooks and food preparation workers; material-moving workers; and personal care and childcare workers. About half are in Southern California.

In 2013, the median income of low-wage workers' families was $29,100, compared to $63,000 for all California families, a gap that has widened since 2000. From 2007 to 2011, families of low-wage workers received $14.3 billion in annual support from public-assistance programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Medicaid and food stamps.

The researchers published their analysis in chart form in Low-Wage Work in California: 2014 Chartbook, the first edition of an ongoing resource with a wide range of information about low-wage workers, their families and their jobs. The chartbook will be updated annually as new census data becomes available.


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A third of U.S. low-wage workers are only earners in household

More information: laborcenter.berkeley.edu/lowwageca/
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Apr 30, 2015
The above graph is a given

http://www.thegat...owth.png

Apr 30, 2015
"Edison's plans to cut jobs, hire foreign workers is assailed"
http://www.latime...ory.html

Apr 30, 2015
"At the end of October, IT employees at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts were called, one-by-one, into conference rooms to receive notice of their layoffs. Multiple conference rooms had been set aside for this purpose, and in each room an executive read from a script informing the worker that their last day would be Jan. 30, 2015."
"From the perspective of five laid-off Disney IT workers, all of whom agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, Disney cut well-paid and longtime staff members, some who had been previously singled out for excellence, as it shifted work to contractors. These contractors used foreign labor, mostly from India. "
http://www.comput...ers.html

May 01, 2015
Part of the problem is in how one defines "productivity".

Many people are working in professions that don't ultimately contribute or add any value to the economy, but are instead wasting resources in order to divert some of the market cash flow towards themselves. This is the "service economy", and broadly describes the part of the services sector which goes beyond and in excess of what is needed to run the society and its basic amenities.

A feng-shui consultant or a barista is producing very little real value.

So, when more and more people in essentially make-work vocations are all competing to provide some luxury or triviality that the society doesn't really need, to people with progressively less money to spend, real wages across the board start to drop.

So when productivity measures how many fancy lattes a Starbucks turns out - how much purposeless work people do - it seems like a social disaster. When it measures real output, the real wages closely follow.

May 01, 2015
This low-wage workforce, nearly three-quarters nonwhite and concentrated in two industries—retail trade, and restaurants and other food services


Aka. taking a cut from selling you products made by someone else.

I serve you your coffee, and you serve me my breakfast, but if the majority of the society is just people who serve other people, and more are born every day, everyone's doing a whole lot of work to make money but fewer and fewer people are doing any work to make the eggs and the coffee beans in the first place.

So where does the money come from?

May 01, 2015
society doesn't really need,

Says who?
Market specialization is sign of productivity.

May 02, 2015
society doesn't really need,

Says who?
Market specialization is sign of productivity.


Breaking windows to create jobs for glassmakers isn't real productivity. Much of the services economy is based on creating "needs" and convincing people to waste resources so you could then serve them just that.

May 02, 2015
creating "needs" and convincing people to waste resources so you could then serve them just that.

That's not breaking windows.
Who 'needs' a Apple watch or a PDA?
Entrepreneurs created a need and created new industries.
In every voluntary transaction, the buyer, seller and economy win.


May 02, 2015
Wanna be tyrants like Eikka break windows by forcing people to buy stuff they don't want to buy.

"There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him."

― Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

May 02, 2015
Eikka:

Most of the "productive" jobs are done by robots and software now. It can't be helped that so many people work in services. Those are the only jobs remaining for humans.

May 02, 2015
I live in Cali, not far from Los Angeles, and could get by just fine on $13 an hour, if that was based on a 40 hour week.

13 * 40 = 520; 520 - 25% (rough tax estimate) = 390; 390 * 4 = 1560.
1560 - 700 (1br rent) - 150 (1 person food) - 150 (1 person electric / phone / Internet) - 15 (1 person gas) = 545 left over for fuel and such.

May 03, 2015
"So where does the money come from?"
--------------------------------------

You are asking the wrong question, which is regarding the creation of wealth, not money.

Wealth is not created by the rich, or the financiers, or the owners, or the bankers, it is crated by the worker, the artist, the journeyman, the engineer, the assembly-line worker, by the electrician. All the others are parasites.

What is your business?

May 03, 2015
"those who bought the $350 Apple Watch Sport —like I did — value the plastic-strapped aluminum Watch more than $350. And those who now wear a $17,000 rose gold Apple Watch Edition value that purchase more than the $17,000 they charged to their platinum American Express cards."
"Just as there's no accounting for taste, there's no accounting for value. Value is in every case subjective, defined exclusively by the individual. It is, fundamentally, in the eye of the beholder."
"If you can't respect that someone would want to buy something you wouldn't, it's more likely you would also approve of government attempts to prohibit dangerous, immoral, or "wasteful" choices."
"If you don't want an Apple Watch, don't buy an Apple Watch. But admit that your subjective value is not universal truth."
http://fee.org/an...le-watch

May 05, 2015
"Just as there's no accounting for taste, there's no accounting for value. Value is in every case subjective, defined exclusively by the individual. It is, fundamentally, in the eye of the beholder."


If you build a society on the principle that value is simply whatever one is willing to pay, then you're open to abuse because you assume that you are never misguided - or that it's not important to be rational.

In other words, you would be happy to buy a $1000 gold plated cable for your stereos even when it does nothing except inflate your ego. You would keep arguing to the end of your wits that it was worth every cent, denying the obvious to justify the purchase.

That in some circles would be called stupidity. When the whole society is based on this kind of willing idiocy to waste on a whim, and to lie and cheat to convince other people to waste their money on you - it's no wonder that the economy is going down the drain.

Caveat emptor.

May 05, 2015
And when the whole society is based on this kind of willing idiocy to waste on a whim

Well, we do give some people ridiculous salaries (stars of various kinds, CEOs, select atheletes, ... ), so I'd say it's not so much a matter of an 'if' we build a society on that principle - the western world is already there (and the rest seems to be racing to catch up in that regard).

The abuse comes in when there's a monopoly or an emergency situation. (What would a dying person be willing to pay for a life-saving procedure? What would you pay if only one company sells food/water/air?)

And when the whole society is based on this kind of willing idiocy to waste on a whim, and to lie and cheat to convince other people to waste their money

Seems to be a succinct summary of what advertising is for.

May 05, 2015
"those who bought the $350 Apple Watch Sport —like I did — value the plastic-strapped aluminum Watch more than $350. And those who now wear a $17,000 rose gold Apple Watch Edition value that purchase more than the $17,000 they charged to their platinum American Express cards."


And the American indians valued glass beads more than their gold and their lands when the Spanish arrived.

It didn't turn out to be such a good investment.

Seems to be a succinct summary of what advertising is for.


There's advertising, which is informing the consumer of the products that are available on the market, and advertising which is targeted for creating needs for products that are not needed, such as wind-up apple peelers or popcorn makers, or fancy jewelry and the like.

Telling the difference isn't trivial.

May 05, 2015
I'd like to see the waveform from the inverter of Musk's battery. These developments can mean more jobs, more skills, more employment along with better efficiency and efficacy of the systems.

We can put folk to work in alternative energy.

May 05, 2015
Well, we do give some people ridiculous salaries (stars of various kinds, CEOs, select atheletes, ... )


It's not that we give, but that they can demand such salaries. A CEO has enough influence to burn a company to the ground unless you give them a golden handshake. Look at what Stephen Elop did to Nokia just before the Microsoft takeover - he publicly criticized the company's own products (Symbian phones) and generally drove the whole thing to the ground so Microsoft could buy it on the cheap.

If a million dollars buys you a good night's sleep...

And celebrities are paid a lot again because a lot of people are making lots of money off of them. Getting a football hero to wear your shirt means $$$ in your pockets even if you paid him millions.


May 05, 2015
Eikka, you have a question in the Better Batteries thread.

May 05, 2015
You are asking the wrong question, which is regarding the creation of wealth, not money.


It was a rhetorical question. An market consisting of nothing but servants has no source of value, therefore no wealth and by right no money.

I quote Adam Smith:

"There is one sort of labour which adds to the value of the subject upon which it is bestowed; there is another which has no such effect. The former, as it produces a value, may be called productive; the latter, unproductive labour. Thus the labour of a manufacturer adds, generally, to the value of the materials which he works upon, that of his own maintenance, and of his master's profit. The labour of a menial servant, on the contrary, adds to the value of nothing.


Eikka, you have a question in the Better Batteries thread.


I will see to it if I'm interested. You don't need to spam with personal messages.

May 05, 2015
No, Eikka, you challenged me with your doubts, and I am proving you wrong. Do you really think I would give out my real name then lie?

From where do you folk spring? the Liars Lair, where everybody lies to you? What kind of business are you folk in??


May 05, 2015
that they can demand such salaries.

And they earn those salaries.
A CEO has enough influence to burn a company to the ground

That's the problem for the board and shareholders. Sell the stock.
American indians valued glass beads more than their gold

In the end, the gold plundered by the Spanish led to the destruction of their economy from inflation.

May 05, 2015
"In the end, the gold plundered by the Spanish led to the destruction of their economy from inflation."
-------------------------------------------

Yes, . .. the consequences of greed and "independent" people.

May 05, 2015
Thus the labour of a manufacturer adds, generally, to the value of the materials which he works upon, that of his own maintenance, and of his master's profit. The labour of a menial servant, on the contrary, adds to the value of nothing


Of course a 'servant' adds value. The time the 'master' spends not tending to 'menial' tasks is time spent doing what the 'master' does best.
An expert becomes an expert by devoting all the time he has to being an expert. If that is a profitable endeavor, he hires others to do the necessary work to live, but does not contribute directly to his expertise.
This creates jobs like a professional shopper, personal chefs, house staff, ....accountants, lawyers, physicians, drivers, ...

May 05, 2015
Of course a 'servant' adds value. The time the 'master' spends not tending to 'menial' tasks is time spent doing what the 'master' does best.


Which is to kick back and drink wine, most of the time.

The problem of neoclassical economics is that it considers anything that makes money to be productive work, yet it cannot account for this productivity without distinguishing some objective value.

It can't tell what a shovel should be worth relative to a can of pea soup without assigning them values other than money, and in doing so it breaks the principle of everything is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.

Businesses do this internally all the time, otherwise they'd run themselves to the ground. A manager has to separate the value-adding activities from the value-detracting activities, especially in large corporations, or otherwise they'd just be shuffling money from one department to the other in circles, all believing they're making more of it.

May 05, 2015
So in a sense, the neoclassical economic theory is a great big doublethink.

Internally and intuitively, everyone knows that some types of business activity add to the wealth of the corporation and to the market in general, while others don't, but externally they have to pretend that all business is good business to justify their own existence, their high asking prices, and all the rest of the abuse towards the public in general.

It's like excusing cancer on a child on the argument that it shouldn't matter in which manner they gain body mass.

May 05, 2015
No, Eikka, you challenged me with your doubts, and I am proving you wrong.


This is the third article you've spammed with your off-topic remarks. I have answered you where appropriate. If you persist, I have to start reporting you to the administrators. Whether they'll do anything about it, it's their business.

Do you really think I would give out my real name then lie?


Better men than you have. Perhaps the biggest, and the most usual lie there is, is to say, "I am thus and so, I have done this and that, and therefore I am right and I know what is true."

But at the same time, although publicly done, it is often not a lie told for the audience.

May 05, 2015
Which is to kick back and drink wine, most of the time.

You might.
Not today's wealthy.
pretend that all business is good business

Like all govt is good govt?
add to the wealth of the corporation

Value is subjective.

May 05, 2015
Not today's wealthy.


The point was that the wealthy "masters" no longer gain their wealth by serving the society to produce more of it - thus validating the point of their servants to free them to it - but by abusing the stupid and the ill-informed, by deliberately ill-informing them. If you become rich by selling gold plated stereo cables and diamond encrusted iPhone cases, what contribution to society and to the means of production have you actually achieved?

Or have you just wasted a bunch of precious materials and energy for some triviality in order to make yourself fat?

Like all govt is good govt?


Yes. That's the same phenomenon reflected over to the authoritarian side of the fence. Essentially what happened with the Soviet Union: over-reliance on the government's ability to rationally micromanage all aspects of society despite the loss of productive efficiency.

I like to compare it to the image of boiling tea by striking individual matches.

May 05, 2015
add to the wealth of the corporation
Value is subjective.


Having food on the table, a roof over my head, clothes on my back and gasoline in the car isn't subjective. In the same way, real productivity that increases gross income is not a subjective thing to a corporation - but it depends on figuring out what is real productivity, and that requires non-subjective value.

For the neoclassical shareholder though, laying people off and closing factories creates value because it makes them money. Some corporations today actually subsist on taking over other businesses and destroying them, firing the staff, selling equipment, running them into debt and pumping the share values up and then selling them, liquidating them.

That's because they choose to take the short term profit from slaughtering the company rather than wait for the long term profit and risk of running it.


May 05, 2015
The rest of the Adam Smith quote:

"Though the manufacturer has his wages advanced to him by his master, he, in reality, costs him no expense, the value of those wages being generally restored, together with a profit, in the improved value of the subject upon which his labour is bestowed. But the maintenance of a menial servant never is restored. A man grows rich by employing a multitude of manufacturers; he grows poor by maintaining a multitude of menial servants. The labour of the latter, however, has its value, and deserves its reward as well"


What he meant was roughly that the menial servant is a luxury that we value because of itself. He's simply reminding that too many servants drives your estate to poverty.

In the end, the gold plundered by the Spanish led to the destruction of their economy from inflation.


That's rather an argument against monetary systems based on metals, than an excuse to sell worthless glass beads to indians.


May 05, 2015
ryggesogn2, let me give you a conceptual example of non-productive work that creates no value.

Suppose we have a multitude of people who each have $10 in their pocket. One arranges to pay the other $1 in exchange for their $10 thus having $19 in their pocket. Then another person agrees to give him $1 for the $10 thus getting the $19 and so-forth until the $10 bill has travelled all the way around the group and everyone has all their money back.

Now, suppose right along the point where the 10-for-1 exchange happens, an outsider happens by. The guy who did the exchange says "Look at the profit I'm pulling! Invest in me!" and so he invests, and in their turn the other people are doing the same thing to other outsiders, and the money circle grows and grows without actually doing a thing.

We would call this a kind of Ponzi scam when it's done intentionally, or the financial market when the participants are doing it unaware of what's happening in the big picture.

May 05, 2015
That's rather an argument against monetary systems based on metals,

No.
It an argument against plunder.
real productivity that increases gross income is not a subjective thing to a corporation

Production of ...what? The corp. tries to sell something their customers value, which is subjective.
because it makes them money.

But money is not wealth. Especially when the govt controls it.
slaughtering the company

A productive company making a profit is not likely to be slaughtered.
But many companies are slaughtered by the state with onerous regulations.

May 05, 2015
"For the past six years, the Tax Foundation's "State Business Climate Index" has named California 48th in the nation. CEO Magazine has placed it dead last for the past eight years in its "Best and Worst States for Business" rankings. The causes of California's business climate struggles are well-documented: high, overly complicated, and numerous taxes, expensive property, increasing energy costs, burdensome labor and environmental regulations, and a state legislature indifferent to business concerns, among others."
http://www.realcl...155.html

May 05, 2015
"Seattle Pizza Employee Was Super Excited About The Minimum Wage Increase, Until He Lost His Job "
http://chicksonth...-his-job

May 05, 2015
Eikka only talks about an economy of need. An economy where humans existed for thousands of years.

Real wealth can only be created by adding value to nature: food, fuel, minerals, materials (wood, cotton, etc.)
After centuries of engineering and only a few centuries of liberty and productivity, the world has created an economic base that emperors would envy today's 'serf'.
The stark contrast can be observed on recent TV shows like 'Naked and Afraid' and even 'Survivor'. One quickly notes how productive humans have been the past few hundred years.
That productivity has led to even greater specialization. Expert baseball, football, pool, golf, dancers, singers, ....and more who can ultra specialize and earn the wealth needed to live and thrive.
All of this is due to the continued increase in productivity and individual liberty.
Curtail that liberty and you have Cuba, Venezuela, DPRK, .....

May 06, 2015
Eikka only talks about an economy of need. An economy where humans existed for thousands of years.


Actually, I'm talking about an economy that has built and been built on top of the basic economy of need.

The need still exists - the need for houses, food, education, transportation, security, leisure, etc. but it's been augmented with an economy of neoclassical "services" that justifies itself by claiming that all value is subjective, that all business is good business, that really just exists as a parasite on the surplus created for the fullfillment of the basic economy of needs to the point that for many the basic needs are no longer being met.

When people can't tell the difference between a necessity and a luxury, productive and unproductive labor, they're ill-equipped to sustain themselves. Poverty and unemployment rises and real wages, living standards drop while "productivity" measured only by revenue keeps rising because of all the misplaced effort.


May 06, 2015
A productive company making a profit is not likely to be slaughtered.


Yet it happens, because the immediate profit gained from selling the assets of a perfectly functional company may exceed its profits for several years, so a corporation with no interest in running the thing would obtain a shareholder majority or otherwise take over, install some cuckoo as the CEO and cannibalize the whole setup.

It happens because it's possible, so someone always takes the opportunity. The leap of faith here is to say that it's perfectly legitimate business because all business that makes one money is "productive".

It an argument against plunder.

But all value is subjective you say. The indians could keep their lives by running off and letting the Spanish take whatever they have, which must have been subjectively valuable to them.

Fair trade, the neo-classical economist would say, if he was being consistent with himself.


May 06, 2015
Production of ...what? The corp. tries to sell something their customers value, which is subjective.


Exactly that. Something which they can sell.

It is not a subjective thing. You can objectively observe when a company is being productive, aka. turning inputs into outputs of greater value than the inputs instead of simply trading money for money or selling assets.

It's plain to see that if products or incomes are just exchanged or transferred between A and B, then the total product value, or total income, does not increase. Therefore there is objectively productive and uproductive activity. By extension, you can observe when the market or the whole society is being productive - when it's adding value to its inputs rather than simply consuming them.

So much of the modern markets is just about being the first in line to buy something so you can sell it to the other guy who actually uses it. That's not productive - that's effectively stealing.

May 06, 2015
That's not breaking windows.


Convincing people that they need the latest iPhone is conceptually the same thing as throwing a stone at someone's window to convince them of the need to replace it. You're creating a need by making the other person aware of something they lack.

If it wasn't for the stone, or your ad-campaign, there wouldn't be the desire for an iPhone or a new window.

The question is rather, is the iPhone itself value-adding or value-detracting. On the case of the window, its clear to say that you've simply wasted a window. On the case of the phone, it's debateable whether it's simply a toy or whether it serves some further productive purpose.

For many people who own iPhones, it does not. They do not lack an iPhone should they not have one, they simply lack common sense.

May 06, 2015
Convincing people that they need the latest iPhone is conceptually the same thing


BS!

is the iPhone itself value-adding or value-detracting


That is up to the customer.

they simply lack common sense.


Why do you care?

'm talking about an economy that has built and been built on top of the basic economy of need.


That is a communism.

Humans have needs AND wants. It is the 'wants' that have driven prosperity.

the need for houses,

No one really needs a 3000 sq ft house or 4 baths or a 3 car garage.
Who is going to stop people from buying what they want?

May 06, 2015
E, list all your property and I will tell you if you need it.


May 06, 2015
Why do you care?


Because the pointless consumption or resources means that everyone else, me included, are paying higher prices for everything else.

When you drive a bigger car, you increase gasoline demand and price, forcing me to drive a smaller car to maintain my living standards otherwise. If I chose to drive a big car as well just because I want to, I would further increase the gasoline prices and hurt us both.

I don't need to drive the bigger car, so I don't, and if you didn't either then we'd both have more resources left over to do something actually meaningful or fun.

That is a communism.

Humans have needs AND wants. It is the 'wants' that have driven prosperity.


Of course we want something more than plain sustenance. The difference here is in how we obtain it - by producing something new that increases the welfare of all, or by taking it from the rest by subterfuge.

If we're all stabbing each other in the back, we all die.

May 06, 2015
That is a communism.


No. Communism is something completely different.

What I'm talking about is simply that instead of holding your own subjective condition as the ultimate metric of value as if you were the only living person in the world, you take a rational account of whether your actions are apt to help or hinder you if others followed the same principles.

You have to ask, what kind of society would gain you the most if the same rules applied to everyone equally.

That is a more or less objective way of figuring out whether what you are doing is productive in the real sense. Of course you can cheat and steal, but then you have no moral currency to demand the opposite from others and ultimately have to submit to be cheated and stolen from, defeating the point of it. You ultimately gain nothing.

May 06, 2015
forcing me to drive a smaller car to maintain my living standards otherwise.


BS

have more resources left over


BS

paying higher prices for everything else.


BS

same rules applied to everyone equally.

You want to force everyone to live by your rules.

submit to be cheated and stolen from


BS

May 06, 2015
"You want to force everyone to live by your rules."
--------------------------------------

It's called Civilization. Learn to live with it.

May 07, 2015
This is what happens when the state tells you what you NEED:

"On any given day, people in Venezuela can wait hours to get some subsidized milk, cooking oil, milk or flour -- if they can be found at all."
http://news.yahoo...377.html

May 07, 2015
How many low wage farm workers (most likely Hispanic) are being laid off by the federal govt to save a fish?

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