So, employing the equivalency measure, the data source “the Census Bureau recommends” found that income inequality is moving in exactly the opposite direction that Warren and Sanders claim. In fact, last year it decreased significantly.
That inequality declined in 2018 should come as no surprise. Thanks in great part to tax cuts and regulatory reductions, by December of 2018 the unemployment rate had declined to 3.9% – the lowest year-end rate in almost 20 years. Labor participation increased from 62.7% in December 2017 to 63.1% in December 2018 as more people came off the sidelines to find jobs. It was the first year-end over year-end increase since 2006. In March, the number of job openings exceeded the number of people unemployed for the first time since the government began reporting the data. By year end, there were 1.2 million more job openings than people unemployed.
As a result, for each of the last five months of 2018, hourly wages increased more than 3% on a yearly basis — for the first time in nearly a decade. In December, wages increased 3.3%, the best year-end increase since 2008. Workers’ wages drove this increase, rising 3.5% (also the best since 2008) while supervisors’ wages increased only 2.5%. Traditionally low-wage retail workers ended the year with a 5.1% increase, their best year-end since 1981.