- by New Deal democrat
With yesterday’s report on October consumer prices, we can up two of my favorite measures of how the working/middle class is doing - real average non-supervisory wages, and real aggregate payrolls.
Real average wages for non-supervisory workers declined -0.1% for the month. They are -5% below their pandemic lockdown peak (which, recall, was affected by more lower wage workers being furloughed) and -2.6% lower than they were in September of last year:
Real aggregate payrolls measure how much wealth the middle/working class is earning as a whole. In the past 60 years, when that has outright declined on a YoY basis, it has always - with no exceptions - coincided, give a month or two, with the onset of recessions:
The news here was good. Really, really tepid, but still good.
Real aggregate payrolls were unchanged for the month, and remained +1.1% higher YoY:
In the past few months, both inflation and nominal payroll growth have decelerated. To signal an imminent recession, nominal payroll growth is going to have to decelerate significantly more than inflation. That it hasn’t done that much in the past several months is at least muted good news.