Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 78, No. 1

(released February 2018)
by Patrick J. Purcell

The Social Security Administration maintains wage and salary earnings records for all American workers. From those administrative records, the agency extracts a 1 percent sample called the Continuous Work History Sample (CWHS) for research and statistical purposes. This article uses CWHS data to examine trends in men's real wage and salary earnings from 1981 through 2014. It first describes broad trends for all men aged 25–59. Then it describes the trends over that same span for men in each of seven 5-year age intervals (25–29, 30–34, 35–39, 40–44, 45–49, 50–54, and 55–59), with detail by individual birth cohort. A series of charts shows how men's real wages changed across age groups and birth cohorts within each age group.

by Kenneth A. Couch, Gayle L. Reznik, Howard M. Iams, and Christopher R. Tamborini

This article examines the extent and economic consequences of involuntary unemployment among private-sector workers aged 26–55 during the Great Recession. Using data from the 2008 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the authors document the effects of involuntary unemployment on earnings, income, and health insurance coverage during the economic downturn and compare outcomes across worker demographic subgroups. Those outcomes are tracked at annual intervals over a 3-year follow-up period and are compared with those of workers who did not experience a job loss. The authors discuss their findings in the context of retirement security in general and Social Security in particular.

by Koji Chavez, Christopher Wimer, David M. Betson, and Lucas Manfield

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) does not account for the aged population's ability to draw from asset principal to cover living expenses. In this article, the authors ask two questions: (1) How much can we conservatively expect the aged to withdraw from their assets annually, and (2) To what extent would the inclusion of such assets alter the estimated proportion of the aged in SPM poverty—specifically, the proportion of the aged who are “pushed” into SPM poverty because of their medical out-of-pocket expenditures?