Availble for Radio: Economic Gaps widen as US economy booms - IPA

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 18:05:46 -0800 (PST)

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FWD  From: Institute for Public Accuracy <institute@igc.apc.org>
     Subject: Available for Radio: Economic Gaps

Institute for Public Accuracy
915 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org

     P.M. Friday, February 26, 1999


     Despite new figures showing rapid growth in the U.S. economy, some
economists said Friday afternoon that many Americans are not getting much
benefit from the nation's overall prosperity.

     While the Commerce Department has just reported that the economy
grew at an annual rate of 6.1 percent during the final quarter of 1998,
independent economists cautioned that -- despite a hefty boost in the
U.S. gross domestic product -- huge gaps exist in Americans' economic

     The following economists are available for interviews:

ROBERT POLLIN, (413) 577-0126, (413) 549-8796, pollin@econs.umass.edu
     Pollin, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts
at Amherst, said Friday: "The demand for soup kitchens and homeless
shelters has increased dramatically. What this reflects is the declining
value of the minimum wage and the increased difficulties faced by
low-wage workers. Despite the fact that these people have jobs, they have
not shared in the economic growth."

JULIANNE MALVEAUX, (202) 462-1932, jmnia@aol.com
     An economist based in Washington, D.C., Malveaux commented: "While
the overall unemployment rate is 4.3 percent, the rate for
African-Americans is nearly 9 percent. Companies like Levi Strauss and
Bank of America are posting layoffs. This is clearly a bifurcated

ROBERT GINSBURG, (773) 278-5418 ext. 17, rginsburg@igc.org
     "All growth is not equal," said Ginsburg, research director of the
Midwest Center for Labor Research based in Chicago. "The current economic
expansion has a dark side. In the past five years, nearly 50 percent of
the jobs created paid less than the federal poverty level for a family of
four. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only two-thirds of the
people laid off in the last few years in the recurring waves of
downsizing are back in full-time jobs. Of those lucky enough to get
full-time jobs, nearly half earn less than they did before. This is why
the income gap is increasing. That is why real wages have not risen above
the level in the late '70s and that is why the number of poor and
homeless in this country continues to grow."

EDWARD WOLFF, (212) 998-8917, wolffe@fasecon.econ.nyu.edu
     Wolff, a professor of economics at New York University, said:
"Despite the remarkable period of general prosperity over the last seven
years, median family income today is still no greater than what it was in
1989. Moreover, wages, adjusted for inflation, are still lower today than
they were 10 years ago. Moreover, despite the stock market boom over the
last three years, the wealth holdings of the average family remain lower
than what they were 10 years ago."

RHONDA WILLIAMS, (301) 405-1162, rwilliams@aasp.umd.edu
     Williams is an economist and associate professor of Afro-American
studies at the University of Maryland.

          For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy:
          (202) 347-0020, (415) 552-5378, (415) 663-9674


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