A new report on Minnesota's middle class highlights concerns for young workers.
The progressive think tank Growth & Justice teamed up with Demos, a non-partisan research group, to evaluate the state of Minnesota's middle earners.
Tamara Draut with Demos said Minnesota's young workers, particularly those ages 25 to 34, have lost ground.
"Young people with college degrees took a particularly big hit after the recession in terms of their earnings. They declined 23 percent since 2002," Draut said.
However, Draut said earnings began to drop well before the Great Recession, in 2001.
"Earnings began to steadily decline and have actually fallen 9 percent in the last 9 years, which essentially means the median workers pay today is what it was in 1999 after adjusting for inflation."
According to the report the erosion in wages is partly driven by the shift from manufacturing to service-sector jobs.
The report notes more than two-thirds of Minnesota college graduates entered the workforce in 2009 with college debt. Their average student loan balance of $27,000 was the 6th highest in the country.