Chart of the day: Real average hourly earnings

Noah Smith notes that wages aren’t the only way Americans make money. Increasingly, income comes via nonwage compensation and government transfers.


This chart comes via Noah Smith at Bloomberg.

Real average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers

Three months into my tenure on this site, I posted a similar chart. That was ten years ago. And so the numbers look better now.

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Here’s what Noah says about the situation:

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…wages aren’t the only way Americans make money in the market. Income from assets, like retirement accounts and pensions, is increasingly important, as are nonwage compensation like employer contributions to retirement accounts. Second, the income numbers include government transfers, which have shifted more and more income from rich Americans to those who earn less in the market. These factors are all bigger than in the 1970s

I see Noah’s piece as recommended reading. The link is below.

Middle-Class Doldrums Don’t Add Up to a Crisis – Noah Smith, Bloomberg View

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