//Real Wages Are Rising for Those at the Bottom

Real Wages Are Rising for Those at the Bottom

I see my friend Jared Bernstein beat me to the punch in writing up the new data from Usual Weekly Earnings series. As he points out, the story for the median worker, those right at the middle of the income distribution, has not been good over the last year. Donald Trump doesn’t seem to be making American great again for these folks.

Fortunately, there is a bit better story lower down on the income ladder, as we can see in the figure below.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While real weekly earnings for the median worker have not gone anywhere in the last year, earnings for those at the 25th percentile and the 10th percentile are still headed up. Over the last three years usual weekly earnings for the 10th percentile worker have risen by 4.8 percent and for 25th percentile worker by 6.5 percent. That’s a pretty good story by almost any standard, although it doesn’t make up for the weakness in the immediate aftermath of the housing crash, much less the three decades of wage stagnation that preceded the Great Recession.

Taking the longer three year period even the earnings for the median worker don’t look bad, rising by 2.9 percent over this period. That’s not great, but in context of 1.0 percent annual productivity growth, at least the median worker is getting her share of the gains. That contrasts with the period from the first quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2015 when median earnings rose by a total of just 1.2 percent.

It looks like tight labor markets are acting as expected towards the bottom end of the income ladder. The picture at the median has not been good over the last year or so, but these numbers are erratic. I expect better news in the second quarter at the median, but we’ll see.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/beat_the_press/~3/s7Pw6owR4lM/real-wages-are-rising-for-those-at-the-bottom