Gains in Hours, Wages Boost Workers' Weekly Earnings

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Nov. 17 — The average worker's inflation-adjusted weekly earnings jumped 0.5 percent in October after holding steady the prior month, reflecting a pickup in wage growth, Labor Department figures showed Nov. 17.

The increase for private sector production and non-supervisory employees stemmed from a 0.4 percent hike in average hourly earnings before adjustment for inflation and a six-minute expansion in work hours to 33 hours 42 minutes per week. The resulting 0.7 percent earnings boost outweighed a 0.2 percent rise in the cost of living, as measured by consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W).

Over the 12 months ended in October, real weekly pay climbed 2.7 percent, reflecting higher wages and a decline in the cost of living. By comparison, over the same period ending in October 2014, real weekly pay rose 1.1 percent.

The recent year-over-year gain in real average weekly earnings resulted from a 0.4 percent drop in the CPI-W and a 2.2 percent increase in unadjusted hourly earnings. Work hours were unchanged.

Other Employees Also Gain

Among all private sector employees including supervisors and managers, inflation-adjusted average weekly earnings rose 0.2 percent in October following a 0.1 percent decline the prior month, as hourly pay grew.

Unadjusted hourly wages were up 0.4 percent, while the consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U)—which measures the cost of living for all Americans—climbed 0.2 percent. The average workweek was unchanged at 34 hours 30 minutes.

Over the 12 months ended in October, real average weekly earnings of all employees grew 2.1 percent. Unadjusted hourly pay climbed 2.5 percent, while prices rose 0.1 percent and average work hours declined by six minutes.

For More Information

For more information, see Compensation and Benefits Library's Bloomberg BNA's Wage Trend Indicator chapter.