June 7, 2024

Average  hourly earnings rose 0.4% in May to $34.91 after having risen 0.2% in April and 0.4% in March.  Earnings growth continues to slow from 5.5% at the beginning of  last year to 4.1% currently.  Presumably, the flood of workers from Latin America crossing over our southern border with Mexico are willing to take  a lot of low-paying jobs as they try to survive in their new home.

These hourly earnings data may understate the growth in wages.  The Atlanta Fed’s wage tracker has risen 4.7% in the past year compared to a 4.1% increase in the officially-published hourly earnings data.  However, both series are headed in the same direction and gradually slowing.

The problem is that while nominal earnings have risen 4.1% in the past year, inflation has risen almost as quickly and real or inflation-adjusted earnings have risen only 0.5% in that same period of time.

Average weekly earnings rose 0.4% in May to $1,197.41 after  having declined 0.1% in April to $1,191.93 and having risen 0.7% in March.  In the past year weekly earnings have risen 3.8%.

Stephen Slifer

NumberNomics

Charleston, SC