MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Labor Day is an appropriate time to take a look at employment and wage issues, but a new report by a St. Paul-based economic group is revealing some disappointing findings about how well we are doing here in Minnesota.
The analysis by Growth and Justice found that Minnesota’s median household income has fallen 18 percent from 2000 to 2010. It’s the steepest decline in the nation.
The study says the state’s median income is now about $58,000.
Dane Smith is the president of the Growth and Justice.
“The median income is a really important measure and it declined in Minnesota significantly in the last decade. This was partly a result of the recession. Median income declined all over,” Smith said. “The direction is not good, and we need to do things like raise the minimum wage, invest in workforce training and development.”
The push to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage is still strong.
At the AFL-CIO Labor Pavilion at the state fair, the message is loud and clear. The goal is $9.50 an hour, by the year 2015. Currently, it’s $6.15 in Minnesota and $7.25 nationally.
“After the recession, people got laid off and are now working on trying to put their lives back together. With different plants and things closing, finding a good paying job is hard to do in Minnesota,” state employee Eric Mattson said.
Volunteers at the AFSCME booth have been collecting cards with signatures to send to the state legislature.
Smith says we all should be concerned about widening economic inequality.
“A more equitable society is healthier, safer, wiser. It really makes a difference in peoples’ lives if everyone is doing better,” Smith said.
If you want to check out the full report by Growth and Justice, click here.