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May 17, 2004
Hourly Wages Increase, Boosting Real Earnings

Real average weekly earnings increased by 0.2 percent from March to April after seasonal adjustment, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. A 0.3 percent increase in average hourly earnings was partially offset by a 0.2 percent increase 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 2.5 percent, seasonally adjusted, from April 2003 to April 2004. After deflation by the CPI-W, average weekly earnings increased by 0.5 percent. Before adjustment for seasonal change and inflation, average weekly earnings were $520.71 in April 2004, compared with $510.02 a year earlier.

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