For decades, income inequality has mainly been a talking point among academics and pundits. Recently, the issue has found its way into the public discourse, although opinions on the real causes, extent and, above all, measures that would need to be taken to address it vary considerably. A rising tide may lift all boats, but Americans have seen modest wage growth since the 1980s. Those in the highest wage percentile have enjoyed a disproportionately large part of that growth, while those working jobs that have registered a significant spike in productivity have received only modest rewards in the form of single-digit wage increases. With the added strain of automation for both blue-collar and some white-collar occupations, the future will require complex solutions to help workers find their way in a changing labor market, and to better reward those offering essential services.And, as the study shows, it's not just Silicon Valley or New York City where the rich are getting richer and the poor struggle to get by. In fact, St. Louis' wage disparity may be even bigger than in the metro areas thought of as bastions of inequality.
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