One way to look at inequality is to compare those at the top of the income or wealth ladder to those in the middle or at the bottom. One common way to do that is to compare CEO salaries with that of average workers. MarketWatch.com reports that the latest research shows that in 2005 the average CEO made 262 times as much as the average worker. They report that this is “the second-highest CEO-to-worker pay ratio in 40 years.” In terms of dollar differences, the average CEO made $10.9 million last year, while the average worker earned $41,861. They also provide some historical perspective, reporting that, “In 1965, CEOs of major U.S. companies earned 24 times more than the average worker. In 1978, corporate chiefs earned 35 times more than workers and in 1989, 71 times more.”

The data they report on came from an Economic Policy Institute report and previews data they will publish in their book, The State of Working America: 2006-2007. In another of their Economic Snapshot releases they report that the average CEO income was 821 times that of a minimum wage worker in 2005.

In a related story, The Economist reports that the gap between the rich and the poor is rising. Among other things, they report on research that found,”the share of aggregate income going to the highest-earning 1% of Americans has doubled from 8% in 1980 to over 16% in 2004.”

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