Changes in the Weekly and Annual Earnings of Young Adults from 1979 – 2010: Progress and Setbacks Amidst Widening Inequality

Release Date: September 29, 2011
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Deteriorating earnings for young adults since 1979 have significantly affected their abilities to form independent households, increased the share of young adults living at home, reduced marriage rates and increased the share of children born out of wedlock, according to Northeastern University Economics Professor Andy Sum. Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies, reports reduced weekly and annual earnings of young adults have also reduced their contributions to state, federal and payroll taxes. The various ways this decrease in earnings has affected young adults by gender, race, ethnicity, age and educational attainment groups is explored.

About the Author

Andrew Sum, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston

Andrew M. Sum is a professor of economics and the director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. He has produced research on the labor market and workforce development on the local, state and national level for the past 40 years focusing on the experiences of teens, young adults, blue collar workers and older workers. His most recent research has focused on what he calls "The Lost Decade," and how the last ten years, including "The Great Recession," has seriously harmed young workers and young families with children.