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February 23, 2005
Rise in Consumer Prices Drags on Wages

When adjusted for a rise in consumer prices, average weekly earnings of workers have fallen over the last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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In January, inflation-adjusted, or real, average weekly earnings fell by 0.2 percent after seasonal adjustment. A 0.2 percent increase in average hourly earnings was more than offset by a 0.3 percent decline in average weekly hours and a 0.1 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

Average weekly earnings rose by 2.3 percent, seasonally adjusted, from January 2004 to January 2005. After deflation by the CPI-W, average weekly earnings decreased by 0.7 percent. Before adjustment for seasonal change and inflation, average weekly earnings were $538.86 in January 2005, compared with $517.82 a year earlier.

In December, real average weekly earnings rose 0.5 percent after seasonal adjustment.

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