Wages tumble toward 18-year low
Oct 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM
USA Today is reporting that the bad economy and low inflation are starting to drag down wages for millions of everyday workers and freeze benefits for millions of retirees.Average weekly wages have fallen 1.4% this year for private-sector workers through September, after adjusting for inflation, to $616.11, a USA TODAY analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data found. If that trend holds, it will mark the biggest annual decline in real wages since 1991.The bureau's data cover 82% of private-sector workers but exclude managers and some higher-paid professionals."Wages are usually the last thing to deteriorate in a recession," says economist Heidi Shierholz of the liberal Economic Policy Institute. "But it's happening now, and wages are probably going to be held down for a long time."