Magazine February 5, 2018, Issue

Where the Jobs Are

Grand Central Terminal, New York City.
In larger metro areas, wages and the demand for workers are rising

Wages in America have been stagnant for four decades. Two generations of workers have seen annual real-wage growth of barely 0.2 percent. The average worker today is earning only 10 percent more than in 1973, after adjusting for inflation. Wage growth has gone disproportionately to one group: skilled workers.

These trends only worsened after the Great Recession. Weak productivity growth and enormous slack in the labor market pushed wage growth into neutral. Since the end of the recession in June 2009, prices have increased faster than salaries. Even in 2017, with unemployment holding steady at slightly above 4 percent — a

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