Wage Increases Don't Meet Healthcare Hikes

Despite growth in the economy, the economic climate for American workers hasn't improved much since last Labor Day, and they are significantly worse off on most measures than they were a decade ago. According to the third annual Labor Scorecard compiled by Rutgers' School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR), workers fortunate enough to be covered by their companies' health insurance plans are paying higher costs for the protection but are not receiving commensurate wage increases.

"Even at a time when corporate profits are increasing, there is little gain being shared with the workforce," said professor and principal investigator Douglas Kruse.  "Workers clearly are being asked to share more of the cost of benefits."

The study found that the current median weekly earnings of wage and salary workers are $744 compared to $748 last year and $724 in both 2005 and 2000. The latest figures (2009) show employees now contribute an average of $779 for single health insurance coverage. The corresponding figures were $670 and in 2005, and $416 and in 2000, respectively.

Single employees pay 87.2 percent more for individual coverage than they were in 2000.