An op-ed by David Cay Johnson points out that people earning between $100,000 and $400,000 per year captured “an astonishing” 75 percent of all (real) pay increases between 2000 and 2012. Twenty-two of those 75 percentage points stem from the fact that these workers earned 22 percent of the pay in 2000. So, all things equal, they would have earned 22 percent of any increase. The rest comes from 2.1 million people who had previously earned less than $100,000 joining their ranks—an astonishing 25 percent increase. (The number of people earning more than $400,000 also increased.)
Johnson complains that those earning between $40,000 and $100,000 per year have lost 200,000 jobs because of “cuts in local government employment and the offshoring of factory work.” It’s more accurate to say this cohort gained 1.9 million jobs (a faster-than-average 4.4 percent increase) but lost 2.1 million jobs to pay raises that increased their (real pay) to more than $100,000 per year.
That’s not to say America’s job creation machine hasn’t faltered in the recovery. Since 2007, growth in the number of college graduates exceeds the growth in managerial and professional jobs. There are fewer high-paying jobs for low-skilled workers relative to the number of low-skilled workers. And an increase in 3 million part-time jobs has replaced 3 million full time jobs.