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Dallas Fed: Over Half of Americans Experienced Real Wage Declines This Year

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The Dallas Federal Reserve found that the decline in real wages is at a severity not seen in 25 years. Simply put, when adjusted for inflation, American’s paychecks are down despite wages going up. The median decline in real wages surpassed 8.5% this September.

"How severe are the losses for workers experiencing negative real wage growth? For the 53.4 percent of such workers in second quarter 2022, the median decline (that is, half of the declines were larger and half smaller) in real wage growth was 8.6 percent."

After examining real wages over the course of 12 months, the Dallas Fed found that 53.4% of all workers experienced real wage declines. Additional taxes under Biden have added to real wage decline as well. Peter C. Earle of the American Institute for Economic Research estimates that someone earning $70,000 annually now has $4,500 less in buying power in New York. “The bill for the Covid mitigation policies is due,” Earle said. “Record levels of fiscal and monetary policy expansion in the first half of 2020 are wrecking the purchasing power of the dollar. Thus even without a pay cut, wage earners are effectively earning less over time.”

The average median decline over the past 25 years has been 6.5% with real wage declines reaching between 5.7% to 6.8%. Inflation is simply too severe to compensate for any additional wages. The Fed continued to say:

"Despite the stronger wage growth due to the tightness of the labor market, a majority of workers are finding their wages falling even further behind inflation. For workers who experienced a decline in their real wage in second quarter 2022, the median decline was 8.6 percent.

While the past 25 years have witnessed episodes that show either a greater incidence or larger magnitude of real wage declines, the current time period is unparalleled in terms of the challenge employed workers face."