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Chris Yucus/NewsTribune via AP

Usual weekly earnings for workers at the lowest 10% of the pay scale rose by 3.2% in the second quarter from a year earlier, faster than at any point since the start of the recovery and faster than pay gains in the middle and top of the income spectrum, per the Wall Street Journal.

Why it's happening now: The unemployment rate continued to decline over the past year, from 4.9% to 4.4%, but it fell even faster for low-income workers, from 7.5% to 6.4%. Another factor is likely higher minimum wages across the country, as wage floors have increased in 19 states since the beginning of the year.

A welcome change: The bottom 10% of earners have only risen 12.5% since 2009, which hasn't been enough to keep up with inflation. Wages for the top 10% of earners, on the other hand, have gone up nearly 20% during that period.

Go deeper

Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden has arrived at the White House and he will sign executive orders and other presidential actions.

30 mins ago - Podcasts

Podcast: After the Biden inaugural

Joe Biden was sworn in today as America's 46th president in an inauguration unlike any other in modern history.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into the speech, the atmosphere and what it all tells us about the incoming administration, with Axios political reporters Hans Nichols and Alexi McCammond.

Biden embarks on a consequential presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried everything to delegitimize the rival who vanquished him. In reality, he's set Joe Biden on course to be a far more consequential U.S. president than he might otherwise have become.

The big picture: President Biden now confronts not just a pandemic, but massive political divisions and an assault on truth — and the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago that threatened democracy itself.