Hold up. What exactly is this showing?
- The graph shows hourly wages relative to the year 2000. So it's sayin', "Yo, here's how wages have changed since Y2K."
- These are real hourly wages, which means inflation is taken into account. So yes, the 20th percentile wage line is dropping, and that's scary and horrible, but remember that part of that comes from wages stagnating while the cost of living rises.
- Because the graph shows percentages relative to 2000, it's hard to imagine how extreme this separation really is. Let's ask these cartoon guys how their real wages changed for a 40-hour week from 2000 to 2012: