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Median U.S. earnings growth lags behind inflation rate

  • Kansas City Star
  • Published Friday, July 19, 2013, at 4:53 p.m.

Median earnings for the nation’s 104million wage and salary workers have lost ground compared to the rate of inflation.

Workers’ median earnings increased 0.6 percent from the second quarter of 2012 to the second quarter of 2013, lagging the 1.4 percent gain in the consumer price index over the same period.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday that median weekly earnings for employees were $775 in the April-June quarter this year, seasonally adjusted. That was little changed from the median of $772 in the same quarter a year ago.

When measured in “constant dollars,” figured from a 1982-1984 base period, median earnings in the most recent quarter were the same as they were in the second quarter of 2005 — $334.

The median reported figure means that half of wage and salary workers earned more and half earned less, according to the government’s current population survey.

The new report said women as a whole earned about $8 for every $10 earned by their male counterparts.

Workers employed full time in management and professional occupations had the highest median weekly earnings — $1,345 for men and $962 for women.

Men and women employed in service jobs had the lowest median weekly earnings — $534 and $461, respectively.

The amount of education held by workers age 25 and over continued to make a difference in earnings. College graduates had median weekly earnings of $1,193, high school graduates with no college had a median of $647, and high school dropouts had a median of $477.

Peak earning years for men and women were ages 45 to 54.

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