Anno III - Numero 34
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Seneca

giovedì 21 giugno 2018

For the biggest group of American workers, wages aren’t just flat. They’re falling

President Trump has touted a strong economy, but one measure shows the value of wages has decreased for most American workers

di Jeff Stein e Andrew Van Dam 

The average hourly wage paid to a key group of American workers has fallen from last year when accounting for inflation, as an economy that appears strong by several measures continues to fail to create bigger paychecks, the federal government said Tuesday.

For workers in “production and nonsupervisory” positions, the value of the average paycheck has declined in the past year. For those workers, average “real wages” — a measure of pay that takes inflation into account — fell from $22.62 in May 2017 to $22.59 in May 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

This pool of workers includes those in manufacturing and construction jobs, as well as all “nonsupervisory” workers in service industries such health care or fast food. The group accounts for about four-fifths of the privately employed workers in America, according to BLS.

Without adjusting for inflation, these “nonsupervisory” workers saw their average hourly earnings jump 2.8 percent from last year. But that was not enough to keep pace with the 2.9 percent increase in inflation, which economists attributed to rising gas prices.

“This is very likely because of the spike in oil prices eating into inflation-adjusted earnings,” said Allen Sinai, chief global economist and strategist at Decision Economics. “We pay for energy-related costs out of our wages, out of our compensation. And it's making a real impact.”

The fall in those wages has alarmed some economists, who say paychecks should be getting fatter at a time when unemployment is low and businesses are hiring.

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