Here's a Tweet this morning that caught my attention, along with my response.

I suspect the comment from Sven was sarcastic, but I am not positive.

Real Wages

Inquiring minds may be wondering how real wages are doing. Today's report from the BLS on Productivity and Costs sheds some light.

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Congratulations!

Congratulations nonfarm business workers. On average, you made 0.2% more than you did a year ago. Of course, that assumes you believe the BLS CPI inflation stats.

If you worked in nondurable manufacturing, oops. You were down 2.4% from last quarter and 1.5% from a year ago.

Fourth Quarter 2017 Stats

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Clean Sweep

In the fourth quarter it was a clean sweep. Workers lost money no matter where they worked despite rising productivity.

If one believes the BLS understates the CPI, the numbers are even worse.

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Average Wages

Bear in mind these numbers are averages and averages make things look far better than they really are. A small percentage of workers getting big raises skew the numbers.

Median Wages

Median wages, only available on a 1.5 to 2.0 year lag, tell the real story. The last data on real median wages is from May of 2016.

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Real median wages declined in seven out of the last eleven years!

For discussion, please see How the Fed's Inflation Policies Crucify Workers in Pictures.

Also note that Consumers Expect No Improvement in Spending, Income, or Inflation.

Lawrence Yun, the National Association or Realtors' (NAR) chief economist, Blames Inventory, Weather as Pending Home Sales Tumble 3% Year-Over-Year.

Real Story

The above charts tell the real story: Consumers are tapped out and wages are not keeping up with expenses.

Amusingly, economists wonder why consumer spending is weakening.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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.

Real Hourly Earnings: Assuming You Believe the CPI

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

Weak Productivity and Tame Unit Labor Costs

Labor costs and productivity were both weaker than expected.

Real Wages Decline in December, Barely Up From Year Ago

Real wages for production workers fell 0.2% in Dec. Real wages for all employees fell 0.1%. Both barely up from yr ago.

What are the Real Reasons for Declining Productivity?

Economists debate whether the decline in productivity is real. It is real. let's investigate 10 reasons why.

Labor Productivity Dives as Unit Labor Costs Soar

Worker productivity unexpectedly took a steep dive. As a result, production costs soared.

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.

Productivity Up 0.4%, Well Under Expectations of 0.7%, Labor Costs Up 2.9%

First-quarter US productivity was a disappointing 0.4%. Manufacturing productivity declined 1.2%. Wages rose 2.9%.