Workers wages in the United States are lower today than they were back in 1972. (3 charts)
from David Ruccio
The Wall Street Journal notes that workers wages in the United States are lower today than they were back in 1972.
In particular, both average real weekly earnings and real hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers peaked in October 1972 (“when Richard Nixon won re-election, Eugene Cernan became the last man to walk on the moon and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 1,000 for the first time”) and they still haven’t reached that level more than four decades later.
To put this decline in workers’ wages in perspective, during the same period, worker productivity rose by about 70 percent.
Even more concretely, the weekly paycheck in October 1972 was the equivalent of about $811 in today’s dollars. If their wages had increased at the same rate as their productivity, today workers would be making $1378 a week. Instead, last month, average weekly earnings were just under $703.
So, workers are producing much more today than they did in the early 1970s but are still being paid less than they were then.