Setting the Context: CBP Testimony on Key Economic and Wage Trends

As we blogged about, the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) last month released a major report on the social and economic costs resulting from low-wage work in the fast-food industry. Yesterday in Sacramento, the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee and the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee held a joint informational hearing on fast-food industry employment and the policy challenges presented by low-wage work.

CBP Policy Analyst Luke Reidenbach led off the meeting with invited testimony on California’s current job market and what the latest wage and employment trends mean for the state’s residents. Luke’s remarks were based on his analysis in a recent CBP report — Uneven Progress: What the Economic Recovery Has Meant for California’s Workers — and highlighted the fact that recent job growth has not translated into wage gains for many workers.

If economic growth were broad-based, workers across the wage distribution would be seeing real gains in their wages.  However, so far in this recovery only high-wage workers — which we define as those falling into the top 20 percent — have seen any significant wage gains over the last few years.

Read the full testimony.

To further assess how well California’s economy is working for families across the state, the CBP later this year will release an analysis of what it takes to make ends meet in California, including a look at how typical wages stack up to the costs of basic necessities.

— Steven Bliss