wages

More economists are telling us that income and wealth inequality is growing in the U.S.

The Economist declared that inequality in wealth in America is approaching record levels. They argue that the gap between the haves and the have-nots is getting wider as the rich get richer.

Michigan State University economics professor Charlie Ballard joined us today to talk about this wealth disparity in the U.S.

You can listen to our conversation below.


Sheila Steele / Creative Commons

The unemployment rate in Grand Rapids is back where it was before the Great Recession.

But workers in Michigan’s second-largest labor market are making less money. Grand Rapids had the second-worst earnings decline of the top-100 labor markets in the country since 2001, down 6.6%. Only Detroit was worse at 7.2%.

Center for American Progress

A new report gave Michigan a C in terms of the well being of the state's women. 

The Center for American Progress report looked at nine different measures to determine how states in the U.S. ranked — including congressional representation, the number of women in management roles, and wage gaps.

One area where Michigan fell flat: female leadership. Michigan earned a C- for its relative lack of women in decision-making roles.

EPI

That's the estimate for a family made up of two parents and two kids.

The numbers are calculated by the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank based in Washington D.C.

You can look up your specific living situation with their updated "Family Budget Calculator."

EPI says the calculator estimates the annual income a family needs for a "secure yet modest living standard."

It estimates expenses related to housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities, and taxes. And by their calculations, families at the poverty level set by the federal government are nowhere near the EPI's "getting by" threshold.

The budgets, updated for 2013, are calculated for 615 U.S. communities and six family types (either one or two parents with one, two, or three children)...EPI’s family budgets offer a higher degree of geographic customization and provide a more accurate measure of economic security. In all cases, they show families need more than twice the amount of the federal poverty line to get by.

Of the 20 areas the EPI examined in Michigan, the Ann Arbor area came out on top as the most expensive place to live.  Rural Michigan was the least expensive.

Here's a look at the Michigan areas EPI put into their calculator, from most expensive to least expensive (for two-parent, two-child families):

American Panel

If you are a working woman in Michigan, you will average 73 cents for every dollar made by a man, according to a study recently released by the American Association of University Women. 

Michigan women rank seventh among the states and Washington D.C. in the wage gap between men and women, but what does that mean? What is it about Michigan that might lead to this gap?

And, as Michigan becomes a Right to Work state, what effect will that have on the wage gap?

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty was joined by the President of the American Association of University Women in Michigan, Janet Watkins.

Watkins explained the study, and addressed the effect of the gender wage gap among varying industries and ethnicities throughout the state of Michigan. 

You can get more information about Equal Pay Day at www.aauwmi.org.

To hear the full story, click the link above. 

 A Michigan family needs two people working full-time at minimum wage in order to afford a modest home. That’s according to a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The report says, the cost of housing has risen 27% in Michigan over 11 years, but wages have not increased.

Danilo Pelletiere is with the housing coalition. He says the gap between housing prices and wages has become a problem in the state.