Overworked America: 12 Charts That Will Make Your Blood Boil

Overworked America: 12 Charts That Will Make Your Blood Boil

Why “efficiency” and “productivity” really mean more profits for corporations and less sanity for you.

—By Dave Gilson Mother Jones

| July/August 2011 Issue

322
Illustration: Mark Matcho; Chart Artwork: Jeff Berlin

Want more rage? We’ve got eleven charts that show how the superrich spoil it for the rest of us.

In the past 20 years, the US economy has grown nearly 60 percent. This huge increase in productivity is partly due to automation, the internet, and other improvements in efficiency. But it’s also the result of Americans working harder—often without a big boost to their bottom lines. Oh, and meanwhile, corporate profits are up 20 percent. (Also read our essay on the great speedup and harrowing first-person tales of overwork.)

You have nothing to lose but your gains

Productivity has surged, but income and wages have stagnated for most Americans. If the median household income had kept pace with the economy since 1970, it would now be nearly $92,000, not $50,000.

Increase in real value of the minimum wage since 1990: 21%

Increase in cost of living since 1990: 67%

One year’s earnings at the minimum wage: $15,080

Income required for a single worker to have real economic security: $30,000

for the rest of the article and charts:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/06/speedup-americans-working-harder-charts

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