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Workers Only Make 8 Cents More Per Hour, Inflation-Adjusted, Than January 1973

Inflation adjusted (real) earnings have declined 9 out of the past 12 months. There has been no gain since 1973.
Hourly Earnings and Real Hourly Earnings 2021-08

Real Earnings

Real Earnings Month-Over-Month 2021-08

Coupled with the BLS release of the CPI is the Real Earnings Report.

  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.4 percent from July to August, seasonally adjusted. This result stems from an increase of 0.6 percent in average hourly earnings combined with an increase of 0.3 percent in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). 
  • Real average weekly earnings increased 0.3 percent over the month due to the change in real average hourly earnings combined with no change in the average workweek.  

The lead chart says what you need to know. Factoring in the CVPI, inflation-adjusted wages have stagnated since 1973.

Inflation Takes a Big Bite Out of the Apple

The Real Earnings data accompanies the CPI. 


The numbers are even worse than they look because they do not factor in actual housing prices and medical costs paid on behalf of consumers (think Medicare and corporate plans). 

In retrospect, inflation did just not take a bite out of the earnings apple, it at the whole thing, and then some for anyone looking to buy a home.

For discussion, please see CPI Rises Less Than Expected But Year-Over-Year Numbers Remain Elevated

Factoring in housing, my last report had year-over-year CPI at 8.57%. For discussion, please see Housing Adjusted Real Interest Rates Sink to a Record Low -8.5 Percent.


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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.

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.

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.

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.