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BERKELEY – Una de las (desalentadoras) tendencias económicas que definieron a los Estados Unidos a lo largo de los últimos 40 años ha sido el estancamiento de los salarios reales de la mayoría de los trabajadores. Según un informe reciente de la Oficina de Censos de los EE. UU., en 2013 el ingreso medio de los varones estadounidenses empleados a tiempo completo fue 50.033 dólares, apenas distinto de la cifra comparable (ajustada por inflación) de 49.678 dólares en 1973.

Como la mayoría de los hogares obtienen el grueso de sus ingresos del trabajo, la falta de aumento del salario real contribuye significativamente al estancamiento del ingreso familiar. El ingreso promedio del 90% inferior de los hogares estadounidenses se mantiene amesetado desde más o menos 1980. En términos reales, el ingreso del hogar medio en 2013 fue 8% inferior al nivel de 2007 y casi 9% inferior al máximo alcanzado en 1999.

El estancamiento de los ingresos familiares y salarios de la clase media es una de las principales causas de la lenta recuperación de la economía estadounidense después de la recesión de 2007 a 2009, y supone una seria amenaza al crecimiento y la competitividad a largo plazo. El consumo de los hogares equivale a más de dos tercios de la demanda agregada, y para el 90% inferior de las familias, el crecimiento del consumo depende del aumento de los ingresos.

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