Q3 Ends With Workers Getting Anemic 0.4% Raise

The Washington Post reports fabulous news:

U.S. workers are seeing the largest wage increase in a decade, the Labor Department reported Wednesday….The typical worker received a 2.9 percent raise from September 2017 to September 2018, according to the Labor Department’s Employment Cost Index, a widely watched measure of pay….Sluggish pay growth has been one of the biggest problems in this recovery, but employers are finally having to hike wages at a more normal level typically seen during good economic times. Unemployment is at a 49-year low and there are more job openings than unemployed Americans, which forces companies to fight for available workers.

I am so tired of this shit I could scream. Is it a deliberate lie? Is it because news reporters don’t understand what inflation is? Is it because they take any opportunity to report that something is the biggest, largest, heaviest, or best?

I don’t know. But if you want to know how much wages and earnings have gone up over the year you have to adjust for inflation. FFS. How hard is that? And when you do, here’s what you get:

This is not the largest wage increase in a decade. It’s not even the largest wage increase in the past year. Or the past two years. Or the past three years. Or anytime at all.

What it is, is a fairly anemic 0.4 percent increase in wages over the past year. That’s better than nothing, but it’s nothing to write home about, especially when employment is supposedly tight and the economy is supposedly expanding like a rocket. In fact, the real question to ask when you see something like this is not: Wow, workers are doing well. It’s: If workers are hardly getting anything, then who’s getting all the extra money the economy is generating?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest