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America Got a Bigger Raise Than It Knew

Seems US wage growth was higher than we realized
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2019 4:30 PM CDT
Steel workers cheer for President Trump at Granite City Works on Thursday, July 26, 2018, in Granite City, Ill.   (J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

(Newser) – Feeling down about politics? The Wall Street Journal's editorial board offers a shot in the arm: Updated economic data shows that American wages are rising more than we knew. Released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis earlier this week, the numbers reveal that worker compensation jumped 4.5% in 2017 and 5% the year after—"some $4.4 billion and $87.1 billion more than previously reported," per the board. Seems the trend continued into 2019, with salaries and wages actually rising 5.3%, not 3.6%, in May year over year. "And in June wages and salaries grew at an annual rate of 5.5%, which is a rocking 4.1% after adjusting for inflation."

But it's not all dry numbers: With employee compensation rising 42% more in President Trump's first two years than in President Obama's last two, the board sees evidence that tax reform and deregulation have "unleashed repressed animal spirits, especially in energy." Trump's reforms "are continuing to pay economic dividends despite the damage" from his trade policies, they say. "This sure sounds like an economy that is benefiting the 99%." However, a Journal article the next day reported that US wage-and-benefit gains had leveled off, and the revised numbers were evidence that "some workers received bigger income gains than previously thought." (Read more US economy stories.)

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