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Wages of the top 1% soared 160% since 1979: EPI

Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Sibile Marcellus discuss EPI’s latest report.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right, it is new data with a familiar story. The Economic Policy Institute found that wages for the top 1% skyrocketed 160% over the past four decades. And you know what? The share of wages for the bottom 90% continue to shrink.

Yahoo Finance's Sibile Marcellus joining us now with the details on this one. Sibile.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: That's right, Alexis. So as President-elect Joe Biden prepares for challenges dealing with the coronavirus pandemic but also high unemployment, he's facing what's been going on for 40 years in America, and that is that wages have been rising fastest for the top 10% and not as fast-- in fact, the share of earnings that the bottom 90% of Americans have been taking home has actually shrunk.

So according to new data from the Economic Policy Institute, it shows that the wages for the top 1% skyrocketed 160% while undercutting wage growth for the bottom 90% of Americans. So I dug deeper into those numbers to look at exactly where do things stand when it comes to wages for Americans at the bottom 90% and also for those at the very tippy top of that 1%, the 0.1%, and this is what I found.

So average wages for the top 0.1% topped $2.8 million in 2018. But for the bottom 90%, it was about $37,500. So we're seeing this huge, jaw-dropping contrast, and it continues to increase. There continues to be that wage inequality in America, and we're not seeing any signs that that is changing.

Now, President-elect Joe Biden obviously has announced his new economic team. They plan to address wage inequality, but it'll be interesting to see how he's able to address that while also dealing with-- obviously 2020 has been a very difficult year because of the pandemic.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: That's for sure. We'll all be watching and reporting on it. Sibile Marcellus, thank you.