Hourly wages in the United States have risen by a cumulative 3% since 1979. Most of the wage growth over this period was enjoyed by those at the top of the income distribution, while wages stagnated or fell for workers in the middle and bottom of the income distribution, according to a 2019 report by the Congressional Research Service.
Changes in technology, international trade patterns, government policies, national and local economic forces, and in the U.S. demographic are among the range of variables that affect workers’ paychecks. But few factors have a greater bearing on pay than occupation. In 2018 and this year, the nation’s highest-wage workers continued to be those in managerial, professional, and technical positions, while low wage workers tended to be in