Bidenflation Crushed Workers in 2021: Three Worst Annual Real Wage Contractions on Record

Record high job openings and extremely low employment have not stopped workers from losing ground due to inflation running at a 39-year high, data from the Labor Department showed Wednesday.

Real average hourly earnings–meaning, earnings after inflation–were down 2.4 percent, seasonally adjusted, from December 2020 to December 2021. The change in real average hourly earnings combined with no change in the average workweek resulted in a 2.3-percent decrease in real average weekly earnings over this period.

Inflation-adjusted hourly wages for production and nonsupervisory workers fell 1.9 percent from December 2020 to December 2021. Weekly wages fell two percent.

December’s year-over-year figure was the third-worst in records going back to 2007. The worst was April of last year, followed by May.

There was some improvement month-to-month. Real hourly wages rose one-tenth of a percentage point from November to December for all workers. Earnings were up two-tenths of a percentage point for production and nonsupervisory workers.