But in reality, only the workers of two industries – leisure and hospitality and retail – actually lead, once inflation is taken into account.
However, After controlling for inflation, paychecks actually fell 1.2% over that period, according to the analysis.
“Workers have had more bargaining power to get higher wages, but companies have also had the power to set higher prices,” said Furman, also a former chairman of the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisers. . “And prices are beating wages.”
Where wages rise
Leisure and hospitality workers, which include waiters, cooks and hotel workers, have been in high demand after being hit hard by job losses when non-essential businesses closed early of the pandemic. Their wages have risen 0.9% since December 2019, after adjusting for inflation, according to Furman’s analysis.
Retail workers, such as sales clerks, cashiers and customer service representatives, have also been courted by employers. This resulted in a 0.2% increase in inflation-adjusted wages for them. Employment in this sector is 208,000 higher than its February 2020 level.
Employers in low-wage industries have really had to raise wages in order to hire and retain the staff needed to meet demand in 2021, said Skanda Amarnath, executive director of Jobs America, which advocates for a wage economy. high and with a high employment rate.
“Right now the CPI is just too strong compared to everything else,” he said of the consumer price index, a popular measure of inflation.
And where they fall
Across all other industries, inflation-adjusted wages have fallen since the end of 2019, led by utility workers with a 2.7% drop.
Construction and information technology workers saw their pay slips fall by 1.8%, while workers in manufacturing and finance saw a 1.7% decline.
Even wholesale trade workers, such as truckers, who have also been strained during the pandemic as supply chains have collapsed, have lost ground. Their salaries have fallen by 0.6% since December 2019. This is a reversal from the end of 2021, when their salaries had increased by 0.1% in the previous two years.
But the Fed looks at wage growth before the impact of inflation, and inflation has remained strong. The 5.3% jump in the year ending June was the biggest since the spring of 1983.