The mayors of 2 major US cities blame 2 big factors for Americans' low wages

Source: Business Insider | Leanna Garfield

  • When asked about the slow growth of the US economy, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka both said that urban inequality and a lack of public transit are two of the largest causes.
  • More than 80% of the nation's GDP comes from cities.
  • If urban economies become less productive, the country's economy will be slower to grow, contributing to low wages.

In the United States, economic growth slowed in the first quarter of 2018 — the economy grew 2.3%, slightly less than the 2.9% rate at the end of 2017.

The Great Recession ended nearly a decade ago, but the US is still grappling with a slow-growth economy, as President Donald Trump has noted since his campaign. From the late 1940s to early 1970s, the economy grew an average of 3.8% per year. But since 2004, the growth rate has dropped by almost half.

GDP growth helps increase wages and salaries, allowing more people to enjoy the country's wealth, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. But currently, two factors are contributing to the country's slow economic growth and low wages, according to the mayors of two major US cities. Rahm Emanuel from Chicago, Illinois and Ras Baraka from Newark, New Jersey recently spoke about the problem at a conference hosted by The Wall Street Journal.

In a discussion about the future of American cities, Emanuel and Baraka agreed that urban inequality and a lack of public transit are likely hurting the nation's economy overall.