Four years into an economic expansion, New Yorkers finally got a slight raise last year, according to this year's edition of The State of Working New York, released this month by the Fiscal Policy Institute. Real median wages were up for the first time in four years, increasing by 1.7 percent in 2006.
One important reason earnings increased, the report concludes, is New York State's new minimum wage of $7.15 per hour. The minimum wage was raised in three stages since January of 2005. "Opponents of the increase predicted that it would cause widespread job loss," says James Parrott, chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute. "But today, we see the best of both worlds: job growth together with improvement in wages."
"The New York economy looks better for workers today than it did a year ago, but it is still far from healthy," according to Parrott. "Workers are taking home a decreasing fraction of the value they are creating, they have less economic security, and there is deep-seated economic polarization."
The Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) is a nonpartisan research and education organization that focuses on tax, budget, and economic issues that affect the quality of life and the economic well being of New York State residents.
The full report is available at http://www.fiscalpolicy.org/SOWNY2007.html .