Bureau of Business Research


Date of this Version



Business in Nebraska, Volume 69, No. 712 May 2015


Copyright 2015 University of Nebraska.


Wage growth has been a persistent challenge for the United States economy in recent decades (Mishel, 2013). Middle class wage growth has been weak while job polarization has widened the gap in wages between the highest and lowest paying jobs. Many argue that technological change and globalization are the two main economic factors behind these trends (Dietz, 2012). These problems have accelerated in the last decade, with U.S. real median wages lower in 2014 than in 2005.

These trends have also played out in Nebraska, including two main metropolitan areas, Lincoln and Omaha - Council Bluffs. In this report, these common trends are examined for the two main metropolitan areas in Nebraska, state of Nebraska, and the nation. Those occupational data are used in this report to determine (1) whether wages for higher skilled occupations increase by more than wages for lower skilled occupations, and (2) whether the real standard of living of workers increased by more than the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).