Real Average Weekly Earnings Fall for 26th Straight Month Under Biden, as Inflation Outpaces Wage Growth

Craig Bannister | June 13, 2023
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When inflation is factored in, real average weekly earnings in May marked the 26th consecutive monthly decline, compared to year-ago, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.

Real average hourly earnings increased a seasonally adjusted 0.2% from May 2022 to May 2023. But, since the average number of hours worked per week fell by 0.9%, real wages earned were 0.7% lower.

From April 2023 to May 2023, real average weekly earnings declined 0.1%, despite an increase in real average hourly earnings, due to a 0.3% decrease in the average number of hours worked per week.

Compared to the same month year-earlier, the change in real average earnings has now been negative for more than two years. March of 2021, the third month of Joe Biden’s presidency, was the last time real average weekly earnings rose (up 4.1%) over a 12-month period.

That same month, President Biden signed his $1.9 trillion “stimulus” bill.

The very next month, in April, real average weekly wages earned fell 1.4%, beginning the current 26-month drought.

The largest year-to-year decline in real weekly earnings during this streak, 3.8%, was recorded in June of 2022.

The business and economic reporting of is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

Real Earnings, compared to year-ago.
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


% Change in Real Earnings, by month.
% Change in Real Earnings, Year-Over-Year. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)