By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Presidential front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been talking about helping the middle class.

In 2014, the typical American family income was about $53,000 dollars.

It has fluctuated over the years, and in 2014 it was actually less than it was in 1999.

In fact, the median household income was $53,306 in 1989. In 2014, it was only a few hundred dollars more: $53,657.

So, why aren’t we getting raises?

Mick Scheppeck is a professor of management at the University of St. Thomas. He said there are reasons why raises have been hard to come by.

“Businesses have found out after the past two decades that they can continue to grow their productivity without having to grow their wage bill,” Scheppeck said.

He says in the 1980s, white collar workers were being laid off. And a fluctuating economy in the 90s didn’t help either.

And advancements in technology showed employers that one person can do the work of three or four.

“All of the sudden when I used to have 100 people, I’m getting along with 75 or 80,” Scheppeck said.

And in that case, a cost of living raise of 3 percent doesn’t help much.

“So if inflation is running at 2 percent or 2.5 percent, that gives you your 1-percent increase,” he said.

But Scheppeck says most workers deal with the slight increase because they have a high work ethic.

“They get knocked down and they stand up and go right back at it again,” Scheppeck said.

He says the number that has skyrocketed is executive salaries, which are not included in this breakdown.

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