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January 19, 2005
Wages Up as Hours Increase, Consumer Prices Decrease

Real average weekly earnings--weekly wages adjusted for changes in consumer prices--rose by 0.5 percent from November to December after seasonal adjustment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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This was due to a 0.1 percent increase in average hourly earnings, a 0.3 percent rise in average weekly hours, and a 0.1 percent decrease in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

December marked the first month since September that real average weekly earnings grew.

From December 2003 to December 2004, weekly earnings rose by 3.3 percent, seasonally adjusted. However, 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 $537.08 in December 2004, compared with $520.13 a year earlier.

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