Please consider the BLS' Real Earnings Report for January 2019.

All employees

Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.2 percent from December to January, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This result stems from a 0.1-percent increase in average hourly earnings combined with no change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Real average weekly earnings increased 0.1 percent over the month due to the change in real average hourly earnings combined with no change in the average workweek.

Production and Nonsupervisory Employees

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Real average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 0.2 percent from December to January, seasonally adjusted. This result stems from a 0.1-percent increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.1-percent decrease in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

Real average weekly earnings increased 0.2 percent over the month due to the change in real average hourly earnings combined with no change in average weekly hours.

Assuming You Believe the CPI

Early today, following the CPI release, I noted CPI Flat 3rd Consecutive Month, Year-Over-Year Down 3rd Month.

Year Over Year Prices

  • All Items: +1.6%
  • All Items Except Food and Energy: +2.2%
  • Food +1.6%
  • All Energy Items: -4.8%
  • Gasoline: -10.1%
  • New Vehicles: +0.0%
  • Used Vehicles: +1.6%
  • Apparel: +0.1%
  • Shelter: +3.2%
  • Transportation Services: +2.0%
  • Medical Care Commodities: -0.3%
  • Medical Care Services: +2.4%

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Your results will vary, and possibly greatly, especially those who buy their own heal care policies. But also check out shelter, which does not reflect actual home prices.

Anyone seeking to buy a home knows the shelter index is a flat out joke.

Real Average Hourly Earnings 2006-Present

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To provide a better long-term picture, I put that chart together by subtracting the appropriate CPI from average hourly earnings.

The CPI deflator is CPI-U for everyone and CPI-W for production and nonsupervisory workers.

Short Synopsis

Prices that cannot be accurately measured in the first place are further hedonically modified to provide some sort of average as if that makes any sense.

In terms of wages, it's not the average that matters but the median. We get those numbers on a two-year lag.

Realistically, most of this is a joke.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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.

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 Decrease 0.1%, Real Weekly Earnings Drop 0.4%, Hooray!

As a result of a rising CPI real hourly earnings are down 0.1% for the month. Coupled with shrinking work hours, real weekly earnings declined 0.4% for the month.

Real Earnings Have Gone Nowhere For a Full Year

Real hourly wages have risen but average hours worked fell. The combination leaves the average worker no better off.

Hooray! Your Real Earnings Declined in August

The BLS Real Earnings Report for August shows your average earnings decreased 0.3% for the month due to a rise in the CPI coupled with no wage gains.

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.

Spotlight on Hourly Earnings: Inflationary? Opinions Vary

The BLS Jobs report showed a big jump in month-over-month hourly earnings. Some scream inflation, others say it's benign

Congratulations Workers! You Make a Penny More Per Hour Than Last Month

The average worker makes a penny more per hour than last month in real terms. The year-over-year gain is precisely zero.