In conjunction with the CPI release, the BLS computes Real Hourly Earnings.

In real (inflation-adjusted) terms, the average worker makes $10.75 per hour. That's a penny more per hour than in April. The average worker makes exactly what he did a year ago.

Production and supervisory worker fared even worse.

Production and Supervisory Workers

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All Employees Month-to-Month Progress

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Production and Supervisory Month-to-Month Progress

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From May 2017 to May 2018, real average hourly earnings decreased 0.1 percent, seasonally adjusted.


The decrease in real average hourly earnings combined with a 0.6-percent increase in the average workweek resulted in a 0.5-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.


Production employees are making less per hour but make it up by working longer.

CPI Distortions

Bear in mind these are actual BLS calculations, accurate only if you believe the CPI tells the real story.

The only group I can come up with that may reasonably match CPI estimates are retired workers who own their own home and are covered by Medicare.

Anyone in school, buying their own private health insurance, or looking to buy a home will tell you the BLS CPI stats are bogus.

Bogus Averages

Note that "averages" tell a poor story. Most of the wage gains go to the top employees. The median worker is making less per month and less than a year ago.

Add it all up and the median wage earner is getting clobbered.

For a look at the latest CPI numbers, pleaser see Year-Over-Year CPI Up Most in 6 Years, Bond Market Reacts with Big Yawn.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Congratulations Workers! You Make One Penny More Than a Year Ago

Real wages for production and nonsupervisory workers are up precisely one penny per hour from January of 2017.

Congratulations Workers: You Make 0.3% More Per Hour Than One Year Ago

In real terms, workers make 0.3% more per hour than a year ago, assuming one believes the BLS CPI Statistics.

Congratulations Workers, You Now Make 0.5% More Than a Year Ago

In real (inflation-adjusted) terms workers make 0.5% more than a year ago, assuming one believes the CPI.

Real Hourly Earnings Scorecards: Employees Making Way Less Than 9 Months Ago

Hourly wages, in real terms, have been on the decline for nine months.

Congratulations! BLS Says You Make 2.33% More Than Last Year: Does That Cover the Bills?

Economists keep expecting a big boom in consumer spending. They also expect a huge wage-price spiral. I expect neither. Let’s investigate.

Real Hourly Earnings: Assuming You Believe the CPI

In the past year, real wages rose eight months, fell once, and were flat three times.

Real Hourly Earnings Decline YoY for Production Workers, Flat for All Employees

Today's CPI report that shows inflation rose only 0.1%. Real wages are not keeping up even with that.

Productivity Up 2.9% - Real Hourly Earnings Down: Thank You Fed!

Productivity for the second quarter rose 2.9%. Year-over-year inflation-adjusted hourly earnings are down.