The median U.S. wage in 2010 was just $26,363

at 11:10 AM ET, 10/20/2011

The government has released the first official payroll data for 2010. As you might expect, the numbers aren’t too encouraging. The “raw” average wage--net compensation divided by total number of workers--was $39,959.30, according to the data from the Social Security Administration. But the median wage is far lower: 50 percent of workers earned less than or equal to $26,363.55 for 2010.

As the SSA explained, “The reason for the difference is that the distribution of workers by wage level is highly skewed.” Almost 66 percent of U.S. workers earned below the average wage in 2010 because of income disparity. In other words, looking at the difference between average and median wage is another way to gauge the growing income gap. And the recession has only exacerbated the problem.

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