Inflation Rise Wipes Out Earnings Gain in September

October 19, 2004 ( - The Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of the US Department of Labor (DoL), has released data that shows real average weekly earnings were unchanged from August to September.

A 0.2% increase in average hourly wages was offset by a 0.2% rise in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), the DoL statistics show. Average weekly hours were unchanged between the two months.

The numbers for the year ending in September were more positive. The average weekly earnings rose by 3.0% from September 2003 to September 2004. Following deflation of the CPI-W, average weekly earnings increased by 0.6%. Before adjustments for inflation and seasonal change, the average weekly earnings rose over $10 for the year, up to $530.88 from $520.33.

The data collected by the DoL is from the payroll reports of private non-farm establishments. Both full-time and part-time workers holding production and non-supervisory jobs are included. The real average weekly earnings are calculated by adjusting earnings in current dollars for changes in the CPI-W.

The real earnings for October will be released on November 17.