Three different ways of measuring income growth since 1979 in the USA

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Unions are not the cause of our 40 hour workweek

NZ real household incomes up 55% since 1994 but no dancing in the street by the Leftover Left

Pakeha and Pasifika real household incomes increased by 55% since the low point of 1994. Maori household incomes increased by 65% since 1994.

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Source: Bryan Perry, Household Incomes in New Zealand: trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2014 – Ministry of Social Development, Wellington (August 2015), Table D.6.

Rooms per person across the OECD member countries

There are quite large differences in the number of rooms per person in the European offshoots and the countries in Europe. Americans have much more room per person than the much exalted welfare states of northern Europe.

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Source:  OECD Better Life Index  – Data extracted on 07 Jan 2016 06:55 UTC (GMT) from OECD.Stat

There are now more mobile phones than people

Increase in real New Zealand household incomes since 1982 – before and after housing costs

It is those below median household income that are suffering more from rising housing costs in New Zealand since 1982. Those on low incomes in particular have suffered the most.

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Source: Bryan Perry, Household Incomes in New Zealand: trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2014 – Ministry of Social Development, Wellington (August 2015), Tables D3 and D4.

The data for the lowest decile is somewhat unreliable because there are so many implausibly low and zero incomes in that decile.

@CloserTogether @FairnessNZ nail case for neoliberalism @chrishipkins @Maori_Party

The Council of Trade Unions and Closer Together Whakatata Mai charted similar statistics to show that everything has gone to hell in a hand basket since neoliberalism seized power in New Zealand in 1984 and in particular after the passing of the Employment Contracts Act in 1991.

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Source: Income Gap | New Zealand Council of Trade Unions – Te Kauae Kaimahi.

The passage of the Employment Contracts Act greatly reduced union power and union membership and with it wages growth in New Zealand, according to what is left of the New Zealand union movement.

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Source: Income Gap | New Zealand Council of Trade Unions – Te Kauae Kaimahi.

Unfortunately, both charts of the same statistics show the exact opposite to what was intended by The Council of Trade Unions and Closer Together Whakatata Mai.

Even the most casual inspection of the data charted above and reproduced below with some annotations shows that real wages growth returned to New Zealand in the early 1990s after 20 years of real wage stagnation.

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Source: Income Gap | New Zealand Council of Trade Unions – Te Kauae Kaimahi.

The reforms of the 1980s stopped what was a long-term decline in average real wages. The reforms of the early 1990s including the passing of the Employment Contracts Act was followed by the resumption of sustained growth in average real wages with little interruption since.

Closer Together Whakatata Mai has even stumbled onto the great improvements in household incomes across all ethnicities since the early 1990s.

The increase in percentage terms of Maori and Pasifika real household income is much larger than for Pakeha. As Bryan Perry (2015, p. 67) explains when commenting on the very table D6 sourced by Closer Together Whakatata Mai:

From a longer-term perspective, all groups showed a strong rise from the low point in the mid 1990s through to 2010. In real terms, overall median household income rose 47% from 1994 to 2010: for Maori, the rise was even stronger at 68%, and for Pacific, 77%. These findings for longer- term trends are robust, even though some year on year changes may be less certain. For 2004 to 2010, the respective growth figures were 21%, 31% and 14%.

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Source: Bryan Perry, Household Incomes in New Zealand: trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2014 – Ministry of Social Development, Wellington (August 2015), Table D6.

As Closer Together Whakatata Mai  documented, incomes increased in real terms by 14% for the bottom and 19% for the middle.

Perry noted that in the lowest decile had too many implausible incomes including many on zero income so he was wary of relying on it. I have therefore charted the second, median and top decile before and after housing costs below. All three deciles charted showed substantial improvements  in incomes both before  and after housing costs.

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Source: Bryan Perry, Household Incomes in New Zealand: trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2014 – Ministry of Social Development, Wellington (August 2015).

Naturally, measuring changes in living standards over long periods of time is fraught with under-estimation. There are new goods to be accounted for and product upgrades too.

@BernieSanders @HillaryClinton an average American works 11% less than in 1950, but earns 246% more

https://twitter.com/humanprogress/status/653920576457830402

@RobinHoodTax @helenkellyCTU does the average worker earn less than 40 years ago?

https://twitter.com/RobinHoodTax/status/648963471690698752/photo/1

Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy

Creative destruction in family spending in the USA

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