If you thought workers’ hourly pay was finally rising, think again.
At first glance, the latest data – which came out on Feb. 7 – look pretty good. They show nominal hourly earnings rose 3.1% in January from a year earlier.
But the operative word here is nominal, which means not adjusted for changes in the cost of living. Once you factor in inflation, the picture changes drastically. And far from representing a “blue collar boom” – as the president put it in his State of the Union address – the real, inflation-adjusted data show most U.S. workers have not benefited from the growing economy. Continue reading