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By Stephen Pederson

Facts: Working and the Economy

What they Don’t Teach You in Economics 101

Everyday, most of us trudge off to work to earn our daily bread and don’t give it a second thought.   As an adult in a market economy, the working world provides us with the essentials and not so essential goods to make our life better.  For most of us, it is done without thinking about it,

A photo of a construction worker at work in an industrial environment

Construction Worker – US National Archives

however there are some interesting facts that all of us who work for a living should know.  They might just change our perspective.

Interesting Facts About Work and the Economy

  •  Private sector worker without an employer pension plan, 80% - 8% for government workers
  • Chances that you are officially poor (by government definition) – 15%
  • In major sectors, the lowest rates of unemployment are found among government workers.
  • The odds of being paid at or below the minimum wage is 3%.
  • The age group most likely to work for minimum wage is 65+.
  • The amount of time that the average worker spends on striking – 20 minutes per year.
  • Public sector workers are 5 times more likely to be in a union than private sector workers.
  • In 2012, the average weekly earnings of union workers $943, non-union weekly earnings $742 – a difference of 27%.
  • For every American fired from a job, there are four that leave voluntarily.
  • The second most common cause of death on the job is an assault from a colleague or customer.
  • Chances that your federal income tax return will be audited is 1 in 70.
  • In terms of inflation, a consumer good that cost you $1 in 1975 would now cost you $4.76 in today’s dollars.


For more reading about facts on the the working world and the economy:

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS) –

Danger Ahead: The Risks You Really Face on Life’s Highway – Larry Lauden

U.S. Department of Commerce – Economics & Statistics Administration –


See all posts on Demographics

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