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September 16, 2003
Real Earnings Drop in August
Real average weekly earnings decreased by 0.3 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. A 0.1 percent increase in average hourly earnings was offset by a 0.4 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Average weekly hours were unchanged.

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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.

Average weekly earnings rose by 2.0 percent, seasonally adjusted, from August 2002 to August 2003. After deflation by the CPI-W, average weekly earnings decreased by 0.2 percent. Before adjustment for seasonal change and inflation, average weekly earnings were $520.03 in August 2003, compared with $510.26 a year earlier.

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