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January 19, 2012

Jobs and investments of the Top 1% and Inequality may have decreased over 25 years

1. The New York Times has a interactive graphic that shows the composition of the top 1 percent of wealthiest households by the jobs held by the people in those households.

1. Managers 376,000
2. Doctors 192,000
3. CEOs 164,000
4. Lawyers 145,000

School teachers don't earn enough to make the top 1 percent on their own, but many live in 1-percent households, primarily through marriage.

29.3% of lawyers for securities and commodity brokers are in the top 1%
27.2% of doctors in office and clinics are in the top 1%
24.4% CEOs of securities and commodity brokers are in the top 1%
Doctors of all types are in the range of 20% in the top 1%



2. The Washington Post also looks at the jobs and the investments of the top 1% The Top 1% are 60% likely to own a business or have financial securities, while the bottom 90% are in the 2-7% range in those two categories.

3. Wall Street Journal - While income inequality has increased dramatically over the past 30 years, it’s declined since 2007 and wealth inequality is actually lower than it was in 1995 – raising questions about the link between inequality and the current unemployment rate.

The study, by Ronald M. Schmidt, of the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration University of Rochester, challenges the recent CBO report that found that income inequality expanded dramatically between 1979 and 2007. That report said the incomes of the top 1% grew by 275% over the period, while incomes for most Americans grew by 40% or less.

Schmidt’s study said that most of the CBO’s cited growth in inequality happened between 1979 and 1986. “Most of the increase from 1979 and 2009 had occurred by 1986,” he writes.

Any increases in inequality during the 2000s was “wiped out” by the current recession, which saw incomes at the top fall more than the rest as of 2009. “In fact,” he writes, “there was a marked decline in income inequality over the entire decade” of the 2000s.

I should note that the post-2009 data may tell a different story. Inequality may well have dipped temporarily in 2009 but rebounded with stock markets in 2010 and 2011.

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