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Report: Few Oregon Workers Celebrated Economy this Labor Day

September 4, 2007

As Oregonians honored Labor Day, a new study found most workers have little to celebrate -- at least, in terms of their paychecks. The report from the Oregon Center for Public Policy shows that, after four years of economic expansion, most of the income gains are benefiting corporations and/or households making more than $360,000.

Report coauthor Joy Margheim says the result is an economy for the few, that leaves out average workers.

"Unfortunately, wage gains have been far too little, and they're coming too late for most workers to really share in the economic expansion."

Despite minor income increases for working Oregonians, the report shows the top one percent of Oregon households saw 97 percent of all income growth in Oregon during the first three years of economic expansion.

Margheim says to reverse the trend, the state needs to make public investments in things like childcare and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

"We could turn our economy into one that serves all Oregonians rather than just a few. We need to invest in public structures that improve opportunities for low-income and middle-income Oregonians."

The report is available online at www.ocpp.org.

Dondrea Warner/John Robinson, Public News Service - OR