– by New Deal democrat
With no new data today, to close out the week let’s update real average wages and aggregate payrolls for nonsupervisory workers. This is the best way, based on monthly data, to see how average Americans are doing financially.
While average nonsupervisory wages increased 0.2% in January, consumer inflation increased more, at 0.5%, meaning that real average hourly wages decreased -0.3%. They are down -2.1% since December 2020:
Much of the decline in real wages has had to do with the big increase in gas prices during the first half of 2022.
If real hourly wages have declined, that has been made up by the powerful increase in the number of jobs worked. As a result, nominal aggregate payrolls are up 22.8% since December 2020:
Adjusting for inflation, aggregate payrolls for nonsupervisory workers are still up 7.1%:
In the past, when real aggregate nonsupervisory wages have not risen for a year, that has been a reliable recession signal – which makes perfect sense, since if most working Americans’ financial situations have stalled out, they are likely to rein in spending, if not actually cut back. With the substantial upward revisions to nonfarm payrolls for 2022, as can be seen above that situation has improved, and real aggregate payrolls have rebounded to being up almost 3% YoY as of January: