DES MOINES, Iowa -- Benjamin Caylor offered a lot of waves, thank you's and greetings to the floats, walkers, and politicians who wandered by Monday morning for the annual Des Moines Labor Day parade.
"Higher wages," is what he said he would really like to see as he reflects on workers' future. Caylor, of Des Moines, summed up what he fears is happening to families like his in the middle class these days, "Smaller and smaller."
Iowa's unemployment rate has been creeping up since February. The July rate of 4.1 percent doesn't signal panic among economics but it's still concerning for Caylor and others who notice their paycheck isn't growing like those of the rich.
Hanna Wilson, of Des Moines, joked that there is only one politician who can truly do the heavy lifting to bring better days ahead for the middle class. "Superman!," she chuckled.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the average Iowan makes about $20 per hour, nearly $42,000 a year, but Wilson knows too many who have to get by on far less. Besides, she knows that overall figure includes the CEO's who make many times more than her neighbors.
"It's falling apart," she says of too many aspects of the economy, "We need someone to actually do something that's going to fix something."