This means the gains went … somewhere else. See if you can guess who got them? (Hint: it’s the 1%; this is one driver of the terrible income and wealth inequality.) This breakoff of wages from productivity growth is partly (largely?) the result of trade agreements that pit Americans against exploited workers in non-democracies. This weakened the bargaining power of unions, moved factories and industries out of the country, devastated entire regions of our country — and gave the giant multinational corporations, Wall Street and the billionaires the leverage they needed…
Economist Dean Baker describes one effect of this in Minimum Wage: Who Decided Workers Should Fall Behind?
“If the minimum wage had risen in step with productivity growth [since 1968], it would be over $16.50 an hour today. That is higher than the hourly wages earned by 40 percent of men and half of women.”
Baker is referring to this CEPR study: The Minimum Wage and Economic Growth.