When I Was Your Age: Millennials and the Generational Wage Gap

Source: Brendan Duke, Center for American Progress, March 3, 2016

From the summary:
By all rights, Millennials—people born between 1981 and 1997—should be the highest-paid generation in American history. They are, after all, the most likely to hold a college degree and are working in a period of unsurpassed productivity. Unfortunately, more education and a more productive economy have not paid off for working Millennials.

Median compensation—wages plus the value of benefits from employers such as health care premiums and 401(k) contributions—for a 30-year-old in 2014 was below that of a 30-year-old 10 years earlier. Indeed, 30-year-olds today make around the same amount of money as 30-year-olds in 1984, despite the facts that they are 50 percent more likely to have finished college and that they work in an economy that is 70 percent more productive.

This issue brief argues that a labor market where the deck is stacked in favor of employers at the expense of employees is a primary cause of this poor median compensation growth. Millennials have spent almost their entire working lives in a labor market that is loose—with too many job seekers and too few jobs—and where private-sector labor unions are almost entirely absent. Certainly, monetary policy that promotes employment while making it easier for workers to form unions would help Millennials make up lost ground…..