Are Wages Finally Going Up? Sure, For Some People.

Are wages finally going up? Let’s skip the anecdotal nonsense, shall we? Here are the numbers since the end of the Great Recession:

GDP per capita has gone up 1.5 percent per year since 2009, accelerating to 2 percent over the past year. That’s not bad. America is getting richer, and over the past year has gotten richer at a faster pace.

But it’s a different story for nonsupervisory workers, who make up 70 percent of the labor force. Their earnings have gone up 0.7 percent per year since 2009, accelerating decelerating to 0.6 percent in the past year. This includes the broad working and middle classes, but doesn’t include the college-educated upper middle classes and the rich.

From a macro point of view, wages are finally picking up some steam. That suggests some labor tightness and it’s something for the Fed to consider when they set interest rates. But for all the ordinary working stiffs, 2017 has been a pretty meh kind of year. All those extra riches are going someplace else.


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