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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

The BSD Guy December 01, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Wages can and rightfully should continue to drop as the Republicans fight to enforce the billionaire elite's "WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' AMERICANS, WE DON'T WANT NO STINKIN' AMERICANS" policy. Americans MUST adjust to the fact that the "elite" see them as two bit throw aways that can be easily outsourced. Any job that doesn't deal with anything or anyone directly in the U.S. is expendable. The Republicans FOUGHT and BLOCKED an anti-outsourcing bill very recently. Here's how the Republican "elite" economic model works: 1. The "elite" pay themselves huge salaries, stock compensation, and even bonuses when they screw up, along with HUGE tax breaks. 2. To cover these costs, they fire Americans and ship their jobs overseas. So what if the tech support guy can't speak english - it's the savings that count. 3. As we cycle through more and more outsourcing and firings for "elite" compensation, people get more desperate and settle for lower paying jobs. 4. As people settle for less, they shove less educated right out of the job market, increasing unemployment. 5. Since the "elite" are now making more and more money, magically the economy picks up, and even though there's clearly no need for Americans, some how or other, jobs with huge incomes start falling out of the sky. I DO hope this makes sense to you - it is after all the basis for all Republican economic policy.
DGeorge December 01, 2012 at 09:58 PM
BSD, I would like to enumerate these "Elites" you talk so glibly about. How many are there? How much money can we take from them? What you and Libdom fails to realize is that these "Elites you are talking about, and the ones about to be hurt are the very ones that employ 70% of the country. These "Elites" are the ones that own a couple of Dry Cleaning stores, or a few gas stations they are the small businesses with under 500 employees. Construction companies, companies that cut your lawn and landscape your property. They are the dry wallers the plumbers and electricians. These "Elites' that worked a hundred hours a week to get their businesses off the ground. These are the companies that are going to be hurt. These are the "Elites"that you disdain. Companies need to be able to plan. They need to be able to budget for the coming years. If they cannot look into the future and make a reasonable prediction they will stay with the status quo. They will do nothing. They will not expand their business.They will not hire more workers . What is health care going to cost them? What will taxes be? What will the new regulations be? No one knows, and if you don't know, you do nothing.What they do know however is that they are under attack from this administration That is where our country is right now. That is why we have this great unemployment. This country has ground to a halt because we have no leadership and no competence at the top.
DGeorge December 01, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Cont, Yes there are some of your "Elites", a good number are citizens of Libville. And a good number are from a few large corporations and banks, the very same ones our leader bailed out with yours and my money.
DGeorge December 01, 2012 at 10:13 PM
You want to know who a few of those "Elites" are? I'll give you a couple. How about our potential new Sec of State John " Ill hide my multi million dollar yacht in Rhode Island and avoid the Taxes" Kerry. And his wife the soup heiress.How about, Nancy " I made my millions by hiring illegal aliens to work in our restaurants" Pelosi. And then lets not forget Harry " the ex-security guard that has become a millionaire and will not release his tax info" Reid.
RKO December 02, 2012 at 08:26 PM
The Republican party leadership has allowed themselves to be bamboozled by a collection of wealthy quacks. Anyone that pays attention to the forces driving conservative thinking and policy will come across names of people and companies operating "think tanks" and "research institutes" which really serve no other purpose than to disguise their own self interests as being "good for the country." Among the most prominent of these are, of course, the Koch brothers. Get on the web and read the research and background of these people. They are the children of an extremely wealthy tycoon that was a conspiracy theorist and member of the John Birch Society. Koch Sr. believed that Dwight D. Eisenhower was a communist agent. Another notable is Rupert Murdoch, who made his money publishing sleazy and disgusting tabloids in Europe before buying Fox and starting his own propaganda "News Channel," Fox News. So in love is Rupert with money that to make sure as little of it gets paid in taxes, he now leads the Republican party around by the nose. There's nothing really wrong with conservative thinking, but we no longer get that. What we get are talking heads fed their lines by Fox, Limbaugh, etc. while using their "research institutes" to provide data. When the Republican Party stops being led around by the nose by idiots and nut jobs, then maybe someone will take them seriously. Until then, expect more Sara Palin's and Louey Gomert to be their typical voices.
the-stix December 02, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Yours is the typical liberal BS. Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sara Palin, etc.. as if all Dem Party folks were angels. Give us a break! Question where is Obama's 'balanced' plan to deal with the fiscal cliff and the debt? He sends a jerk out that did not pay his taxes to present an unserious tax and spend plan that does little more than making the nations long term fiscal matters worse. And, where is the 'comprimise' the left has been crying about, as Obama goes back on the campaign trail and plans for his extended hoilday vacation later in the month?
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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