Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

People walking through Times Square, New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Most Americans are unable to live a middle-class lifestyle, despite being employed, because their salaries won't support it, according to a new study published in Third Way by authors Ryan Bhandari and David Brown.

Why it matters: American unemployment has reached a 49-year low at 3.7%, but wages are still an issue for most Americans, the study says, with 62% of jobs falling short of middle-class standards because of wages and the cost of living in areas where jobs are located.

"It's not about how many jobs are open or how many people have jobs, but it's about how good those jobs are."
— Ryan Bhandari, economic policy adviser for Third Way

Methodology: The study created an Opportunity Index that measured the opportunity to "earn a good life" in metropolitan statistical areas where total employment is at least 100,000.

The study covered a total of 204 metropolitan areas and 73% of the workers in the U.S., omitting the workforce in the rural parts of the country.

The index considered two factors: Job quality — by how much the job pays — and job quantity — by the employment-to-population ratio.

By the numbers:

  • Only 23% of jobs afford Americans a middle-class living.
  • 15% of jobs provide Americans with high-earning professional wages paying over $80,000.
  • 30% of jobs in the country pay Americans a "hardship" wage, which is "less than what a single adult living on his or her own needs for basic necessities" the study says, paying less than $27,000.

About half of Americans live in households with middle-class salaries. But 40% can't afford middle-class basic necessities because of ordinary expenses like child care, rent and cellphone coverage.

For example, according to Bhandari, in San Francisco, the median wage is $57,000, but the threshold the study has for middle-class affordability is at $82,000. "A family of four needs $162,000 for a middle-class life."

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
50 mins ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!