Still, we don’t have the full story of the past few years. A worker’s take-home pay depends on the hourly rate times the number of hours worked. In the U.S., there was a decline in the average number of hours worked per week from 35 to 34.8 — that’s 12 minutes a week. In Indiana, we went from 35.7 hours per week to 34.9, a 48 minute reduction in average weekly working hours. More part-time jobs? Less overtime? I don’t know.
Whatever the cause of this decline in hours, the result was a significant increase in the gap between the average weekly earnings of a Hoosier worker and that of the average American worker.
In Dec.’07 that gap was $20.74; by Dec.’13 the gap between Indiana and the nation grew to $58.99 per week. Is this the economic progress our elected legislative and executive leaders travel the world to advance? Is this consistent with those boastful press releases we read about how well Indiana is doing because of our low business taxes and slack regulation?
Morton Marcus is an economist, writer, and speaker who may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.