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Report: Wages in Virginia Fell in 2011

Commonwealth Institute says median household income in 2011 down 4.2 percent from 2007.

A new study reports that Virginia wages dropped last year to levels not seen since 2007, before the nation’s economic downturn.

The Commonwealth Institute reports Virginia’s median hourly wage fell from just under $18.50 in 2010 to $17.64 in 2011, a 4 percent decrease – the largest single year decline in the past decade.

Median household income was also down considerably. In 2011, the median income was $61,882, a 4.2 percent decrease from the pre-recession peak of $64,628 in 2007.

Wage cuts were felt across all income levels in 2011, according to the report. But the Commonwealth’s top 10 percent of earners were hit the hardest, seeing a decline in wages of about 4.4 percent. Wages only fell 2.5 percent nationally.

Stephen Fuller, an economist at George Mason University, said some of these changes could be attributed to a high volume of new hires for positions at the lower end of the pay scale, or “income dilution.”

“More of the new jobs have lower salaries than in the past,” he told Patch. “So the recovery in Virginia and elsewhere around the country has been driven by jobs that aren’t high-end jobs.”

The slow decline in the size of the federal workforce and high volume of retirees also contributed to the dilution, he said.

“The fact that the federal government is cutting back and the private sector is watching its pennies, and because of the uncertainty of what will happen with the fiscal cliff and federal spending more broadly, means that the pay scale is going to be pretty tight for a few years,” Fuller said.

Fuller didn’t think the numbers were as dire as the report seemed to indicate. Some are taking cuts, he said, but others aren’t.

“You look at those numbers and say ‘Everybody’s taking a cutback,’ but we’re talking about different people and it’s just that we have more young people coming in large numbers and working,” he said.

Northern Virginia had the highest 2011 average weekly wages of any other area in the Commonwealth. At $1,285, it was more than the statewide average weekly wage of $974.

And despite the wage decreases, Virginia has the 8th highest median household income and the 12th highest median hourly wage in the nation.

“We’re just not going to be quite as well-off as we used to be, but we’re still going to be pretty good,” Fuller said.

Have you seen your paycheck go down? Tell us in the comments

DGeorge December 03, 2012 at 01:53 AM
RKO, so we tax the Koch bros, Murdock, Rush and a few others and we have what? You certainly haven't responded to what I put forward as an argument, in fact you skipped right over that. How about super taxing Pelosi, Kerry and his wife and Reid and a few of your super rich hollywood darlings like Striesand (sp) , Spielburg et al.
The Analyst December 03, 2012 at 07:41 PM
DGeorge, there aren't very many elites, but this tiny number is controlling over 50% of the US wealth and apparently the Republican party as well. From what I've observed, these aren't job creators they're money manipulators. MItt Romney was one. Whether jobs are created or destroyed is irrelevant to such people as they worship their own one true God - Money. The arguments about outsourcing are real. As more and more companies have shifted labor off shore, using excuses like "it's the global economy" and "we can't be competitive" ask yourself one simple question: Why haven't prices dropped? If you rid yourself of 10,000 people making $15/hour and replace them with someone overseas making $1/hour, you would think prices would drop radically. Why haven't they? This is greed, pure and simple and it's destructive as well. The top tiers within companies and investment groups are simply pocketing the money themselves - they aren't interested in job creation. This has nothing to do with "being globally competitive." The more jobs shifted overseas, the fewer consumers there are to buy products like "Joe's Pizza." This is cyclical destruction of the US economy to benefit a very, very tiny percentage of people. Note that 2 of the biggest outsourcers, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina are Republican candidates and spokesmen. As an FYI, after nearly destroying HP, Fiorina took a $25M golden parachute plus $25M in stock. Failure entitles one to rewards in Republican land.
DGeorge December 03, 2012 at 09:27 PM
And the Movie industry is a leftist industry and where have they moved most of their moviemaking? How about supertaxing the Weinsteins? Still 70% of our jobs are provided by small businesses that have not moved jobs overseas, these job providers are under attack by the current administration as the wealthy Elite as you call them. I'm not so sure that destroying the nations economy is part of the strategy. Tell me who suggested this strategy of destruction and were visitors to the WH? Do a little research.
DGeorge December 03, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Hint; Google " Cloward and Piven." Google their conection to the current administration. Just look around and see if what is happening has anything to do with their strategy. Be honest with yourself.
RKO December 05, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Small business being under attack is nothing more than another Fox News created and Republican Party myth to make sure Sheldon Adelson, Murdoch, the Koch Brothers, etc. don't have to contribute one red cent to the country we live in. They see themselves, like Romney did, as the elite and the entitled. It is the duty, in their minds eye, that others should sacrifice for them - and to that end, just make anything up and pass it off as fact and distribute it through the right wing media complex. Most **smart** small businesses realize that their customers are the 98%, not the 2%. If the 98% have more money to spend, incomes for small businesses go up. If, on the other hand, the likes of Fiorina, Whitman, and Bain Capital are allowed to wipe out middle class jobs by outsourcing (and calling it a "global economy") that's income taken right out the small businesses pockets. The "regulations" being whined about are typically EPA regulations being placed on coal, oil, and gas. This has nothing to do with the average person. Right now, Germany is on an aggressive path to utilize non-polluting technologies, with over 25% of their power coming from solar, wind etc. The Koch brothers and big oil as well as coal and gas see the writing on the wall: How do you compete with something that's free? You don't. You buy yourself a political party to try and steer the country away from the future and increase dependency on your own products.

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