Connecticut’s lower-income workers have struggled with lethargic wage growth and racial and gender earnings disparities in the 10 years since the Great Recession, according to a new report issued by Connecticut Voices for Children, a New Haven-based advocacy group.
The report covered the period between 2007 and 2017 and determined that median wages for the 10 percent of workers with the lowest wages stayed flat while the median salary during the same period declined by an average of 0.3 percent per year. In comparison, workers in the top 10 percent of the wage distribution saw an average increase of 0.4 percent per year. Connecticut ranked third as the most unequal state in disparity between low- and high-wage earners, behind only New York and Florida.
Further complicating matters were the disparities based on race and gender. The report concluded that African-American and Hispanic workers, on average, made 65 cents to the dollar compared with whites, while women earned 87 cents to the dollar compared with men. The report also noted that 31 percent of Connecticut workers make less than $15 per hour, with 57 percent of these workers over the age of 30 and 61 percent working full time.
“Weak economic growth, long-term wage stagnation and growing income disparities are the result of policy decisions that can and should be reversed,” said Jamie Mills, director of fiscal policy and economic inclusion at Connecticut Voices for Children. “Stagnant wage growth is exacerbating historic levels of inequality in Connecticut and across the country, slowing economic growth and preventing workers and their children from having a decent standard of living.”