Last year was not great for the common man.

By at least one measure, inequality among working men has grown for decades. But, in 2015, it accelerated: The wage gap among men saw its largest single-year increase on record.

Top earners — men who made more than 95 percent of their peers — saw wages last year rise by 9.9 percent, according to an analysis of federal data. Men in the middle — with earnings higher than half their peers — saw a much-smaller 2.6 percent increase.

While that gap between male earners in the 95th and 50th percentiles saw its biggest rise, last year's increase only extended a long-running trend.

"It is the most, but to say that inequality hasn't been growing for the last 35 years would be wrong," said Elise Gould, an economist with the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute who conducted the analysis earlier this month, as part of a larger report on wage inequality.

The wage gap grew in 29 of the last 42 years. It shrank just 13 times. The largest reduction came in 1986, a good year for wages among men in the 50th percentile and a bad one for those in the 95th percentile.

Since 1973, wages among men in the 50th percentile have fallen a total 4.6 percent. Wages for men in the 95th percentile, meanwhile, are up 51.4 percent.

That's not to say that men have had it the worst. Women earn less than men at every percentile. That gap narrowed significantly since 2000, except for at the top of the distribution where the gap between men and women actually grew. In 2000, women in the 95th percentile earned 75.6 percent of the wages their male counterparts earned. Last year, that share had fallen to 73 percent.

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