The 2006 State of Working Texas report shows that many families are losing the battle against inflation. Houston Public Radio’s Capella Tucker has more on the report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities.
During the past year, wages, adjusted for inflation have declined two percent. The median household income has dropped 2.5 percent. Center for Public Policy Priorities’ Don Baylor says this means people’s pay checks aren’t keeping up with the rising cost of living.
“Housing, gas prices, energy prices, you know heating and cooling your home, price of milk, everything is affected by energy. So even though the CPI, the inflation index, you know really was not that much different from previous years and in many ways does not take into full account the run up in energy and gas prices, is probably even more of a dire story.”
Baylor says the slip in wages is affecting workers across all educational levels.He says it’s up to the state to decide how to best invest in the workforce.
“With regard to our low income population, it’s really incumbent upon Texas to invest more than other states in upgrading our education system, making sure that workers have access to post-secondary education. Because what we see obviously is that the more education you have, the better you are going to do in the workforce, the higher wages they’re going to get paid, the more high wage employers are going to try and locate here.”
On the other hand, Baylor says Texas has been adding jobs faster than the rest of the United States. But he says there’s a disconnect between job growth and wage growth.
“So where as your everyday Texan is working harder and smarter than ever before that pay check is not going as far as it used to go.”
The State of Working report also found that the workforce, like the rest of the nation, is getting older. The racial and ethnic make-up of the Texas labor force does not match the nation. The Hispanic share of workers is twice the national average. The number of Anglo workers in Texas has dropped from 71 percent in 1980 to 50 percent this year. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.