Reader JohnH confidently asserts:
Real average hourly earnings are back down to where they were before the pandemic—$11.03 now compared to $11.02 in February 2020. Real wages will almost certainly continue to decline in coming months.
This might be true. He doesn’t identify what deflator he is using, whether he is using total employees or just production/nonsup, or anything else about the source of the data. All I know is if I use the data I can download easily from FRED (about 20 seconds), and put into a program to graph, I get the following (using official CPI – all urban numbers):
Figure 1: Average hourly earnings (production/non-sup) in private industry, deflated by CPI (all-urban 1982-84) (black), and 2020M02 average (red). Source: BLS via FRED (series AHETPI and CPIAUCSL), and author’s calculations.
For comparison’s sake, I note what has happened to wages typically construed to be at the lower end of the earnings spectrum
Figure 2: Average hourly earnings (production/non-sup) in leisure and hospitality services, deflated by CPI (all-urban 1982-84) (black), and 2020M02 average (red). Source: BLS via FRED, and author’s calculations.
Reminder: Earlier JohnH also confidently asserted that BLS was hiding median wage data. Conclusion: There is an inverse relationship between commentator confidence and accuracy, on average.