September 16, 2009

Wages, relatively speaking, are up

In a recession marked by massive layoffs, U.S. wage growth and purchasing power appears to have increased, government data shows.

Most companies decided the way to deal with the recession was to cut workers, rather than cut wages, The New York Times said Wednesday.

In addition, the recession has been marked by a lack of inflation. The government reports prices are down 2 percent from a year ago. Declines in weekly pay for the first half of the recession, meanwhile, were largely attributed to fewer hours worked.

That has turned around recently. Employers are reluctant to add new workers, but hours of work per week, since June have increased.

Wages, more recently, are up zero to 1 percent, the Times reported. Adjusting for inflation, that puts wages as much as 3 percent higher from a year ago.

For 80 percent of the workforce, average wages were stalled at $612 per week. Last month, as hours continued to increase, average wages grew to $618 per week, the Times said.