Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wages Fail to Keep Pace With Inflation

July 20, 2010, 4:09 PM ET
By Sara Murray

Weekly wages rose by just $6 in the past year, failing to keep up with the rise in inflation, according to a Labor Department report on second quarter earnings.

Median weekly earnings increased slightly to $740 in the second quarter from $734 a year ago, a 0.8% increase. The consumer price index, meanwhile, rose 1.8% in the same period.

Excess supply in the labor market — 14.6 million Americans were unemployed as of June — has helped keep wage growth in check.

At a time when the value of a college degree has come under fire, those with the highest education levels still fared the best. Those workers 25-years and older with at least a bachelor’s degree earned $1,138 weekly compared to $629 for high school graduates and $440 for those without a high school degree.

Men’s earnings continued to outpace women’s. Females earned a median of $672 each week, 83% of the $810 that men took home weekly.

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