The real earnings of American workers fell for the fifth consecutive month in May as inflation erased all of the month’s wage gains and more.
Real average hourly earnings for working Americans fell 0.1 percent in May compared with April, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Thursday show.
This decline in real earnings occurred even though average hourly earnings increased as employers scrambled to fill open positions. What happened was that these wage gains were more than offset by the increase of 0.6 percent in the Consumer Price Index. So Americans were paid more but those gains were swamped by inflation.
Average weekly real earnings fell as well, dropping to $334.09 from $335.60, even though there was no change in the average hours worked.
The wage decline was even more pronounced for workers the government describes as “production and nonsupervisory employees”—in other words, not the bosses.