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"The whole of the advantages and disadvantages of the different employments of labor and stock must, in the same neighbourhood, be either perfectly equal or continually tending to equality. If in the same neighbourhood, there was any employment evidently either more or less advantageous than the rest, so many people would crowd into it in the one case, and so many would desert it in the other, that its advantages would soon return to the level of other employments."

"The five following are the principal circumstances which, so far as I have been able to observe, make up for a small pecuniary gain in some employments, and counter-balance a great one in others:

  • first, the agreeableness or disagreeableness of the employments themselves;
  • secondly, the easiness and cheapness, or the difficulty and expense of learning them;
  • thirdly, the constancy or inconstancy of employment in them;
  • fourthly, the small or great trust which must be reposed in those who exercise them;
  • and fifthly, the probability or improbability of success in them."

--Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776).


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Atlanta Fed Wage Growth Tracker
Union membership and coverage

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