The concept of “labor market hardship” is a traditional perspective to investigate how employment problems lead to temporary or more persistent deprivation. Unemployment is the most well-known indicator of labor market hardship, but other examples include inadequate earnings and inadequate work hours (e.g., involuntary part-time work). 

Wage Trends from 1960-2011

This resource page includes three tables (two from the U.S. Census Bureau, and one calculated from Census Bureau data) and two charts showing trends since the 1960s in annual earnings for full-time, year-round workers (to ensure comparability), for men and women.

                      Updated data in charts and graphs with pen lying on top

The tables show both the actual earnings and the Census Bureau’s adjustment of them for inflation (sometimes referred to as “constant dollars”).   One of the charts shows inflation-adjusted earnings trends, and the other shows women’s earnings as a proportion of men’s.