Income inequality a problem in Massachusetts

Minimum wage in Massachusetts is $11 an hour

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts residents are joining the workforce faster than any other state, but it doesn’t mean they’re getting paid more.

According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, Massachusetts’ labor force has grown faster than any other state this year, but many local workers are still facing a big issue.

Income inequality is a major problem in the United States, especially here in the state of Massachusetts. Twenty-five percent of all income in 2014 went to the top one percent of the state’s wealthiest workers. That’s compared to 10 percent in 1979.

Assistant professor of Economics at Western New England University, Dr. Karl Petrick, told 22News wages for middle income workers have also been stagnant for years.

“I do know that there’s going to be a push to have that on the ballot in Massachusetts,” Petrick said. “So that would certainly help, but the national level no movement.”

Currently, the minimum wage in Massachusetts is $11 an hour.

“The rates should go up for minimum wage,” said Darrell Smith, a Springfield resident. “Let’s say If I work more hours, I won’t be able to see my kids. So something’s gotta give.”

Raise Up Massachusetts wants to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. With that increase, full-time minimum wage workers would get an extra $9,000 per year.