It’s not your imagination: it really is harder to make ends meet these days.
Real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.1 percent from June to July, seasonally adjusted, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Businesses across America are paying their workers more as they struggle to fill a record number of open positions. Wages increased four-tenths of a percentage point in July. But prices are rising even faster. The Consumer Price Index rose five-tenths of a point.
This means that workers are worse off than they were a month earlier.
Zoom out the time frame and things are even worse. Real average hourly earnings nosedived 1.2 percent from July 2020 to July 2021.
The change in real average hourly earnings combined with an increase of 0.6 percent in the average workweek resulted in a 0.7-percent decrease in real average weekly earnings.
So we’re working more and earning less.
The government tracks a category of job holders called “production and nonsupervisory employees.” In other words, everyone but the bosses. From July 2020 to July 2021, real average hourly earnings decreased 1.1 percent, seasonally adjusted.
When inflation started to pick up earlier this year, many pundits said that there would be a “silver lining” of wage increases.
Inflation’s silver lining: higher salaries https://t.co/DmXuzKlX8z
— CNBC (@CNBC) July 8, 2021
But wage increases have lagged inflation, so there is no silver lining. We’re just getting poorer.