Even if the economy is on a roll, many Americans aren’t feeling the benefit.
Real wages effectively declined in 2018, according to figures from the PayScale Index, a formula from the Seattle-based salary comparison site. PayScale said the median increases, when adjusted for inflation, were only 1.1% since and 1% over the past year. “However, the modest uptick in nominal wages failed to bring real wages out of the red for the year,” it said. In fact, when adjusted for cost of living increases, real wages declined 1.3% since the end of 2017, PayScale found.
That runs counter to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data, which showed an annual increase of 3.2% in average hourly earnings in December, but that’s before accounting for inflation. The PayScale data also stand in contrast to otherwise encouraging news about the labor market. The U.S. unemployment rate remained near a 49-year low of 3.9% in December.