Workplaces face wage stagnation

Kansas City StarOctober 21, 2009 

Has your boss cut your pay? Taken away overtime? Reduced your workweek? Eliminated raises? Chopped your benefits? Put you on an unpaid furlough?

Join the millions who have seen their take-home pay flattened by the double whammy of recession and its 9.8 percent-and-still-rising unemployment rate.

Compensation so far in 2009 has been cut by the largest amount in nearly two decades, with a government index of real average weekly earnings down 1.9 percent since its high point last December. And the average workweek — now down to 33 hours - is the shortest on modern record.

Some pay cuts have gone far deeper than the aggregate data indicate.

James Pastine, a 35-year-old Kansas City architect, and his wife, Laura, also an architect, have both taken 20 percent pay cuts this year.

"We're struggling right now, but we're making it through with the children and day care and trying to make ends meet. It's definitely a lot tougher," he said.

Typical of many, the Pastines accepted the sacrifice.

"It was the right thing to do, going with a pay cut rather than let people go," Pastine said. But, "Once you set a standard of living, it's hard to take a 20 percent chunk out of that."

Read the complete story at kansascity.com

Compensation cuts have sliced across the board.

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