Don’t Call It “Recovery”: December Real Wages Up Only 0.88% Y/Y

Average hourly earnings for all employees unexpectedly declined 0.2%, $0.06 per hour in December vs. November. This was the largest month-to-month percentage drop since the data series began in 2006.

The following charts will help put wages in perspective, on an annual basis (percent change in wages vs. wages the same month a year ago).

Average Wages All Private Employees

click on any chart for sharper image

Average Wages Production and Nonsupervisory Workers

Average Wage Increase Minus CPI

No Benefit From Inflation

Economists tout the benefits of inflation. The idea is nonsensical.

Wages vs. the CPI are up 0.88% vs a year ago, but wages minus the CPI have spent more time in negative territory than positive territory since June 1973!

Moreover, please note the CPI does not take sales taxes, property taxes, income taxes, debt service, or various fees into consideration. The above numbers are even worse than they look.

I repeat my challenge to Keynesians: “Prove Rising Prices Provide an Overall Economic Benefit”.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock