Wage Slump Worsened by Payroll Tax Hike

Real wages have declined for 17 straight months


Higher payroll tax rates this year will make a record wage slump feel even worse, as Americans struggle with stagnant pay in addition to a weak job market.

Yearly wage growth for production workers and nonsupervisors has been below 2% for 17 straight months, less than the rate of inflation. The prior longest streak was just four months. From May to November, growth was below 1.5%.

Adjusted for inflation, average wages have fallen annually for 21 of the last 23 months. Yet in that time, the economy created jobs at a steady, albeit slow, pace.