Public Policy Professor Emeritus David Salkever has released a new policy brief examining the reality of real wage rise over the past few years compared to economic reporting in national media.
"Economic reporting in national media has regularly reported the ongoing rise in wages for workers and the apparent tightening of labor markets. Unfortunately, this simple view is misleading because it ignores overlooks two basic facts about the data which are usually cited. First, it does not adjust for inflation. Second, it omits any consideration of fringe benefits even though they account for about one-third of total compensation. This paper corrects these omissions by looking at trends in total real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) compensation (i.e., wages + fringes) per hour for the period 2014-2019. It shows that when these corrections are made, total real compensation per hour increases steadily over the 2014-16 period and then stops rising in the 2017-19 period. Possible reasons for this marked shift in the trend are briefly discussed."