Workers in the Middle Have Stagnated During the Entire Recovery

Every month, when I post the latest jobs numbers, I also mention the wages of production and nonsupervisory workers. I do this because I think it’s a good rough measure of how well economic growth is helping the working and middle classes, not just the upper middle class of lawyers and programmers. But I don’t normally put this in any larger context, so here’s the wage growth of production and nonsupervisory workers during the past seven years of the recovery, adjusted for inflation:

P&NS workers took a big hit in 2011, made up for it with good wage growth in 2015, and have seen very modest growth since then. Over the past seven years this adds up to cumulative real wage growth of 3.9 percent. That’s about 0.6 percent per year.

This is better than going down, of course, but not much better. We’ve had a long, steady recovery since the Great Recession, but workers in the middle mostly continue to stagnate.


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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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