You're going to have to be patient. Very patient.
The wage "stagnation" workers are experiencing even as the economy and job numbers continue to improve is going to last considerably longer than expected, according to economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
That wage increases come to a complete halt during recessions and don't recover immediately after is not unusual. But this time, the freeze and the decline in the real value of wages is "more pronounced than the pattern observed in past recessions. The economy has been recovering for four years and unemployment has declined considerably, but wage growth has continued to slow.
"The trend will probably continue ... long after the unemployment rate has returned to more normal levels," the economists write in a July paper.
The economists, basing their findings on Bureau of Labor Statistics data, said they do expect wage growth to "accelerate" sometime in the future, but don't say when. Right now, "the spike in workers who are experiencing no wage changes has reached record levels." ...
The Los Angeles animation industry has been sort of an outlier in the roller-coaster pattern of weekly salaries.
In the 1980s, artists got pretty close to minimum scale at lots of animation houses. Disney Feature paid veterans a bit more than newbies, but wages were anything but extravagant.
In the 1990s, salaries took off as both television and theatrical animation expanded at the same time and demand way outstripped supply. By the early 21st century the boom and feeding frenzy were over (particulalry for traditional artists) and the big bucks were being made by CG artists with production backgrounds. (Adam Smith lives!)
But now it's the second decade of the new millenium, and even CG tech directors and animators are getting hit in the pocketbook. Pay is (once more) bumping against minimums, and nobody is gloating about big money. The days of making twice the Animation Guild's minimum rates are long over. And our cousins, brothers and sisters in the VFX arena?
... Visual effects is the one key piece of filmed-entertainment production that operates under the Randian free-for-all that those economic sages prescribe for America’s greater prosperity. Until around 10 years ago, vfx artists and their skills were relatively scarce, so their jobs tended to be permanent and lucrative.
When IATSE tried to organize Sony Imageworks in the boom years, almost none of the company’s employees voted to unionize. That mindset held across the industry — and proved short-sighted. The major studios never had to become guild signatories for visual effects artists as they are for actors, directors and other specialties. They remained free to use f/x made anywhere, under any working conditions. And so they do.
As a result, downwardly mobile SoCal vfx artists — the canary in the coal mine for the rest of L.A.’s production pros — are learning to their terror just how much they have in common with laid-off machinists in Milwaukee. ...
We noticed this "lower pay" trend in cartoonland start in the late 1990s, but it's gone on to 2013. Animation is lucky compared to live-action and visual effects in Los Angeles. We've seen erosion of paychecks, but there is still a sizable workforce and lots of t.v. and theatrical work.
For grips, electricians, camera operators and everyone else on the live-action side, the high-end television shows and big-budget threatrical motion pictures are being made far away from L.A. County. The work that's remained has been (relatively) low paying.
Not good, but the way it is.