Saturday, July 11, 2009

Study Shows Wages In the Hudson Valley Declining In Recent Months

The Washington think tank,the Brookings Institution released a study last week that stated that the Mid-Hudson Valley is among the top five U.S. metropolitan areas with the most severe wage declines in recent months.

The study found salaries of those employed by companies in the Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown area fell an average of 1.4 percent from the last quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009, ranking the region fifth hardest hit by falling wages.

The good news in this is that the Mid-Hudson unemployment rate of 7.8 percent was below the national average of 9.0 percent.

Local housing prices fell 6.2 percent, while dropping 6.3 percent nationally and 6.9 percent in the 100 metropolitan areas.

Howard Wial of the Brookings' Metropolitan Policy Program stated that he was not really sure why the local wage decline was so severe.

"It could be higher-paid workers are getting laid off, and regular workers are being replaced by temps," or "Another way it could happen is if people's hours are cut. We've been hearing of that happening."

Wial also stated that the Brookings' study was "fairly broad-based, reflecting not just a few industries," and cautioned against drawing long-term conclusions.
"It's something to keep an eye on," he said. "It's just a one-quarter change."

It truly is something to keep an eye on in regard to the affect it will have on wages in the near future. As the economy improves lets hope that wage rates will also improve for local working people.

One of the most effective ways for workers to get those raises is to be organized and working under a contract with their fellow workers. Raises are fewer and far between when the workforce is fragmented and bargaining individually.

Translation: Union workers have more of a chance to get better pay raises.

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