Category Archives: Compensation

Institutional Features of Wage Bargaining in 23 European Countries, the US and Japan

Source: Philip Du Caju, Erwan Gautier, Daphne Momferatou,Melanie Ward-Warmedinger, IZA Discussion Paper, No. 3867, December 2008

This paper presents information on wage bargaining institutions, collected using a standardized questionnaire. Our data provide information from 1995 and 2006, for four sectors of activity and the aggregate economy, considering 23 European countries, plus the US and Japan. Main findings include a high degree of regulation in wage setting in most countries. Although union membership is low in many countries, union coverage is high and almost all countries also have some form of national minimum wage. Most countries negotiate wages on several levels, the sectoral level still being the most dominant, with an increasingly important role for bargaining at the firm level. The average length of collective bargaining agreements is found to lie between one and three years. Most agreements are strongly driven by developments in prices and eleven countries have some form of indexation mechanism which affects wages. Cluster analysis identifies three country groupings of wagesetting institutions.

Librarian Salary Survey Reports Mean Librarian Salary Up 2 Percent to $58,960 in 2008

Source: American Library Association, Press release, August 8, 2008

CHICAGO – Analysis of data from more than 1,010 public and academic libraries showed the mean salary for librarians with ALA-accredited Master’s Degrees reported increased 2 percent from 2007, up $1,151 to $57,809. The median ALA MLS salary was $53,251 and salaries ranged from $22,000 to $331,200.

Premiums vs. Paychecks

Source: Families USA, September 2008

Throughout the first eight years of the new millennium, health care costs have skyrocketed, while working families’ wages have stood still. Other factors have also threatened families’ economic well-being, including rising gasoline prices and the downturn in the housing market, but the confluence of stagnant wages and rising health care costs has become a significant strain on family budgets. Numerous national studies have documented this damage.

As important as these studies are, they do not reflect the varying burdens experienced by families in different states. Just as labor markets, health systems, and economic circumstances vary from one state to another, the impact caused by rising health care costs and stagnant earnings differs considerably among the 50 states.

In 2006, Families USA undertook the first state-by-state analysis of growing health care premiums versus stagnant earnings in the new millennium. Since then, state economies have weakened, while health insurance premiums have continued their upward trend. Health care costs are now an even greater burden on American families. These reports, which are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Health and Human Services, examine what these trends mean for working families.

State-specific reports are being released September through October, 2008. See the Newsroom for press releases.

Making Ends Meet on Low Wages: The 2008 North Carolina Living Income Standard

Source: John Quinterno, Meg Gray and Jack Schofield, NC Budget and Tax Center, 2008

The Living Income Standard (LIS) is a market-based approach for estimating how much a working family with children needs to pay for a bundle of basic goods and services. The study uses actual cost data to assess how much money four common family types must earn to afford the market prices of seven core expenses: housing, food, childcare, health care, transportation, other necessities and taxes.

Detailed budgets exist for every one of the North Carolina’s counties, metropolitan centers, economic development regions and workforce areas.

The 2008 version of the LIS finds that the typical North Carolina family with children must earn $41,184 annually — an amount equal to 201 percent of the federal poverty level — to afford basic expenses. Overall, 37 percent of the studied family types fall below that basic income standard. Those families contain 1.4 million individuals.

While the N.C. Budget & Tax Center has produced versions of the LIS periodically since 2001, the 2008 version is not comparable to previous ones. Yet one fundamental finding has remained consistent: hard work alone often fails to deliver a modest standard of living to a sizable number of North Carolina families.
See also:
The North Carolina Living Income Standard Calculator – Look up the cost of living in your county or a group of counties.

The Facts About CEO Pay

Source: Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America 2008-2009

CEO pay has emerged as a very hot topic in Washington’s debate over the proposed $700 billion Wall Street bailout. Details on the meteoric rise of CEO pay in the United States, plus comparisons to workers’ pay and to CEO pay in other leading economies, can be found in The State of Working America, 2008-2009.

Personal Income and Outlays: August 2008

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Press release, BEA 08-46, September 29, 2008

Personal income increased $61.5 billion, or 0.5 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) decreased $93.3 billion, or 0.9 percent, in August, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $3.9 billion, or less than 0.1 percent. In July, personal income decreased $69.0 billion, or 0.6 percent, DPI decreased $91.0 billion, or 0.8 percent, and PCE increased $14.2 billion, or 0.1 percent, based on revised estimates. The pattern of changes in income primarily reflects the pattern of payments associated with the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008

State Chart Book on Wages for Personal and Home Care Aides, 1999-2006

Source: Center for Personal Assistance Services, University of California, July 2008

This chart book tracks the wages received by personal and home care aides (PHCAs) in each state and the nation from 1999 to 2006. Key findings include: between 1999 and 2006, inflation-adjusted wages for PHCAs declined by 4%; In 2006, state real median wages ranged enormously, from $5.41 in Texas to $11.38 in Alaska; In 29 states, average hourly wages for PHCAs were below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line wage (for individuals in one-person households working full time), which would qualify these households for many state and federal assistance programs.

State Employees’ Salaries Increase Slightly, According To Report

Source: American City and County, September 2, 2008

State government employees saw a 2.4 percent salary increase from 2007 to 2008, but that was not enough to keep up with the 4 percent national inflation rate, according to a report from the Washington-based AFT Public Employees Union. The ninth annual AFT Public Employees Compensation Survey. also found that state employees’ salaries still lagged behind the private sector, but employees who participated in collective bargaining earned more.

Executive Excess 2008: How Average Taxpayers Subsidize Runaway Pay

Source: Sarah Anderson, John Cavanagh, Chuck Collins, Sam Pizzigati, Mike Lapham, United for a Fair Economy, August 25, 2008

Our 15th annual Labor Day report (with the Institute for Policy Studies) finds that tax subsidies directly related to executive pay total $20 billion. Average CEO pay is 344 times the pay of an average U.S. worker.