The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) stated in its annual employment outlook that although there has been a growth in employment, wage growth has actually slowed down. While wages improved at the rate of 2.2% before the 2008 financial crisis, currently in OECD regions, it has decelerated, on average, to 1.2%, after factoring in inflation.
The OECD blamed what it called ‘superstar’ firms, which invested heavily in technology and retained lesser number of employees, for contributing to this trend. A lot of the productivity growth has come from these companies, which has resulted in a decrease in the share of national income that went to workers.
Although the OECD did not see any anti-competitive trends for now, it did not outright reject the possibility looking ahead. The OECD believes countries should help their workers by improving their education and skill levels and by protecting them with strong union agreements.
In the US, although the unemployment rate is at 3.8%, the degree of income inequality is high and the country has more low-income residents compared to other developed countries. This is because the unemployed do not get much help from the government while the employed do not have enough protection under the collective bargaining arrangements. The US was ranked third based on low-income rate and second in terms of income inequality.
The US also suffers from a lack of job security and increased difficulty in finding another job in the event of a termination. This results in more families falling into poverty during periods of job losses. Another issue is that even after people gain new employment, their annual earnings levels do not see much improvement.
To remedy this situation, the US will have to spend more of its national income on implementing measures to help people who are unemployed and those who face high risk of job loss. It will also have to work on strengthening its collective bargaining system to protect its workers.
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