The runaway inflation that has dominated the economy during Biden’s presidency once again robbed workers of their wages gains in August.
Real average hourly earnings for all U.S. employees decreased 0.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Wednesday.
For blue-collar workers, the wage loss was even worse. Real average hourly earnings for what the government describes as “production and nonsupervisory employees” fell 0.6 percent compared with a month earlier.
The real wage declines are the result of consumer prices rising faster than hourly pay. In August, the average hourly earnings of all workers rose 0.2 percent while the consumer price index for wage earners rose 0.8 percent.
The average work week for all employees declined by 0.1 percent, which means the average weekly earnings fell 0.3 percent.
Blue collar workers saw a 0.3 percent increase in their average workweek, which mean real weekly pay held steady. Another way of putting it, however, is that employees had to work longer for the same weekly paycheck after adjusting for inflation.
Real earnings had been rising in recent weeks, as inflation slowed and wages played catch-up. Combined with 12-months ago, real average hourly earnings are up 0.5 percent. But since the workweek average has declined 0.3 percent, the average real weekly earnings is up only 0.3 percent from a week ago.
For blue collar workers, real average hourly workers are up 0.9 percent compared with a year ago. The average workweek is down 0.6 percent, however, reducing the weekly wage gain to 0.4 percent.
On Tuesday, the Census Bureau reported that last year real median household income dropped 2.3 percent, the biggest decline since 2010.