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December 17, 2007
Inflation Takes a Toll on Wages

Inflation-adjusted (real) average weekly earnings fell by 0.4 percent from October to November after seasonal adjustment, according to preliminary data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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A 0.5 percent increase in average hourly earnings was more than offset by a 0.9 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Average weekly hours were unchanged.

Real average weekly earnings are calculated by adjusting earnings in current dollars for changes in the CPI-W.

Average weekly earnings rose by 3.8 percent, seasonally adjusted, from November 2006 to November 2007. After deflation by the CPI-W, average weekly earnings decreased by 0.8 percent. Before adjustment for seasonal change and inflation, average weekly earnings were $595.89 in November 2007, compared with $574.26 a year earlier.

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