The Social Security Administration quietly released payroll data for 2010 yesterday, and they were “in a word, awful,” writes David Cay Johnston at Reuters—assuming you’re not a millionaire, that is. The number of people making at least $1 million rose by 20%, jumping from 78,000 to almost 94,000. But for everyone else, there were fewer jobs and they paid less. The median paycheck fell 1.2% to $26,364, or $507 a week, its lowest level, adjusting for inflation, since 1999.
The number of Americans with jobs fell by more than half a million, to 150.4 million. That’s down 5.2 million since 2007. Add in the estimated 4.5 million who would normally enter the workforce over three years, and there are around 10 million who couldn't find a single hour of work. “These are important and powerful figures,” Johnston writes. Yet the government doesn’t announce when it releases them—perhaps because “the data show how the United States smolders while Washington fiddles.”