Report Finds Wage Stagnation And Decline Across Pennsylvania

Sep 7, 2016


Employment recruiters and company representatives speak with job seekers at a job fair in Pittsburgh.
Credit Keith Srakocic / AP

In Pennsylvania, seven out of 10 workers don't have a college degree. That's a demographic that has been particularly hard hit by unemployment and wage declines since the 1980s. 

This is according to the left-leaning Keystone Research Center's annual report, The State of Working Pennsylvania, found that white men without college degrees earn $5.31/hour less than they did in 1980. (All numbers have been adjusted for inflation.) African-American men without college degrees saw a decline of $5.17/hour. Since African-American men earn less than white men overall, that represents a larger percent wage decline.

College educated men have seen wages stagnate since the early 2000s. That's a change from the decades of improvement this demographic saw before. 

"We've heard a lot in the general election campaign ... about the working class [with] less than a college degree not doing well," said Mark Price, labor economist for Keystone Research Center. "I think it's also important to remember that the economy has shifted in a fundamental way also for folks with a college degree."

There is one group that has seen improvement since the 1980s: women. White and African-American women with college degrees saw wages steadily increase since 1980, 41 percent and 39 percent respectively. African-American women without college degrees have seen wages increase as well. They earn almost $2.50/hour more than similarly-educated white women in Pennsylvania. 

Despite these improvements, women still earn less than men in similar demographic groups. 

Find more of this report and others on the site of our partner, Keystone Crossroads