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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > April 2017 > It’s the job market, stupid!

It’s the job market, stupid!

If you’re baffled by Trump’s rise take a look at the grim realities of American working life

Working for less—and now less work too: Pay packets shrank, then they got harder to come by

A big squeeze on American wages has been occurring for a generation: earnings first went into free fall back in the 1970s. Real pay (measured in 1982-84 dollars) sank from a peak of a weekly $345 in February 1973 to $264 in January 1996. Things have bounced back a bit since, but only half way. The chart is for all “production and nonsupervisory employees,” which captures roughly 80 per cent of all private-sector staff —so not just the working class but also the great American middle class as was. Until the 1990s, an underlying rise in the number of women earning compensated for the loss. But since the millennium—and especially since the financial crisis—the overall employment rate has dropped.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s April issue: Ross McKibbin, John Curtice and Lisa Nandy examine the state of the Labour Party and question its survival at the next general election. McKibbin takes a long view and suggests that the party’s problems started long before Jeremy Corbyn, Curtice argues that breaking the party is unlikely to go as well as some may think and Nandy argues that tackling unaccountable power could help restore faith in the party. Nicholas Timmins says the NHS has always experienced financial crises so is this time any different? Lucy Wadham charts the rise of France’s Front National. Also in this issue: Owen Hatherley explores Edinburgh’s architectural conundrum, Freya Johnston on Jane Austen and Avi Shlaim on the tragedy of Yitzhak Rabin—the last best hope for peace.
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