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State of Working Ohio Page

September, 1999

State of Working Ohio, 1999

Mark Cassell, Kent State University
Amy Hanauer, Policy Matters Ohio

Conventional wisdom says that the economy is booming.  And it is true that inflation and unemployment are low and the stock market and corporate profits are high.  However, 80 percent of Ohio’s workers and 70 percent of the nation’s make less money in real dollars  per hour than comparable workers did twenty years ago. The poor have gotten poorer, but so has the middle class, and both lie further than ever from the wealthy.  In this state, as in the rest of the country, men in general, black men in particular, high school dropouts, and those earning less than the median have seen especially dramatic wage erosion.  Vast inequalities remain, with women lagging behind men (despite male wage decline), minorities lagging behind whites, and those with education beyond high school lagging behind those with post-collegiate education. This quantitative assessment of wages and employment since 1979 is designed to deepen our understanding of how recent economic changes are affecting Ohio’s workers. All values are inflation-adjusted and expressed in 1997 dollars.  For further methodology information, see Appendix A.

Ohio is not alone in the trends described here.  For a comprehensive analysis of these issues on a national level, see the Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) State of Working America 1998-99 by Lawrence Mishel, Jared Bernstein and John Schmitt, available from Cornell University Press or visit EPI’s web site at

The 1999 State of Working Ohio was supported in part by a grant from the Urban University Project of the Northeast Ohio Research Consortium.