Walking Through August's Real Earnings Report for Old Media Outlets That Ignored It

I have to figure, after looking at the results of this Google News search on "real earnings" (in quotes), that Old Media business reporters found what came out in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Real Earnings Report too difficult to understand. The search shows that only the Providence Journal among Old Media outlets mentioned the report, which was released Wednesday.

So in the interest of education, I'll break down the BLS report into simpler terms:


Real average weekly earnings rose by 0.5 percent from July to August after seasonal adjustment, according to preliminary data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. This increase stemmed from a 0.3 percent rise in average hourly earnings and a 0.2 percent decline in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Average weekly hours were unchanged.

Translation: The average American worker was 0.5% better off in August in real terms than he or she was in July -- and didn't have to work any longer to get there.

Data on average weekly earnings are collected from the payroll reports of private nonfarm establishments. Earnings of both full-time and part-time workers holding production or nonsupervisory jobs are included. Real average weekly earnings are calculated by adjusting earnings in current dollars for changes in the CPI-W.

Translation: Only those who politicians like to refer to as "working people" (who are members or "working families") were included in this report. All of the gains reported went to them. "The rich," who are supposedly running off with all the lucre and leaving everyone else the crumbs, were not included in the report.

Average weekly earnings rose by 3.9 percent, seasonally adjusted, from August 2006 to August 2007. After deflation by the CPI-W, average weekly earnings increased by 2.1 percent. Before adjustment for seasonal change and inflation, average weekly earnings were $591.26 in August 2007, compared with $570.83 a year earlier.

Translation: The average American "working person" (see above) was 2.1% better off in real terms in August 2007 than he or she was in August of 2006.

This is such good news. How could they have missed it? (/sarcasm)

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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