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Biggest pay raises over 30 years

Over the last generation, pay for some professions has risen much faster than the overall rate of inflation.


fastest growing wages lawyer
  • 1983 median wage: $32,500*
  • 2012 median wage: $99,268
  • Increase: 205%

Its been well documented that the legal profession has taken a big hit since the most recent recession. A drop in demand for high-paying corporate legal services, outsourcing and computerization of basic tasks and a big increase in the number of students coming out of law school have all acted to keep wages stagnant for the last few years.

But from the end of World War II until 2006 it was a completely different story. The world was rapidly changing, with technology, regulations and business structures becoming vastly more complex. Everyone needed a lawyer, especially a corporate one.

"There were no economic forces checking them," said James Leipold, executive director of the National Association for Law Placement. "The market would bear whatever they charged."

Source: CNN analysis of 45 professions in the Current Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Note: *Numbers are not inflation adjusted. Overall inflation from 1983-2012 was 131%
Some professions with high wage inflation, such as chief executives and personal financial advisers, were not tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1983, and are excluded from this list.

  @hargreavesCNN - Last updated November 08 2013 03:37 AM ET

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