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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

January 7, 2014 at 10:25 AM

‘A disappointing year for wage growth’

An early indicator for how workers made out in 2013 comes from Seattle’s PayScale, which tracks quarterly and annual trends in compensation on its PayScale Index. Last year “proved to be a disappointing year for wage growth,” said Katie Bardaro, the company’s lead economist.

Overall wages increased by 0.5 percent in 2013 vs. 3 percent growth in 2012. And that 2012 blip wasn’t enough to solve the paycheck problem for most workers. According to Bardino, real wages have not kept up with inflation:

In fact, real wages have dropped slightly more than 7 percent since 2006. This means the increases observed in nominal wages are not enough to outpace the increases experienced in the prices of goods and services. In other words, the income for a typical full-time, private industry worker buys them less than it did in 2006.

Among the 20 metros tracked, Seattle tied with Baltimore for third place, with an increase of 1.2 percent for the year. Tampa was No. 1 at 1.9 percent (but — and this is from me, not PayScale — Tampa is hardly a hotbed of high wage jobs).

The forecast for the new year: Continued slow growth. It couldn’t be otherwise with so many people unemployed and demand still in a hole.

The problem translates over to total household incomes, where the typical American makes less than in 1989. While the top 10 percent are taking home the largest share of income on record, most Americans have had stagnant or falling incomes for years.

And Don’t Miss: What happened to U.S. life expectancy, in one chart | The Incidental Economist

Today’s Econ Haiku:

The Socialist’s in

The sun rose in the morning

Bertha remained stuck

0 Comments | More in Income/wages

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