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February 21, 2007
Real Wages Slip

Inflation­-adjusted, or real, average weekly earnings fell by 0.3 percent from December 2006 to January 2007, according to preliminary data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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This decline stemmed from a 0.3 percent decrease in the average weekly hours and a 0.1 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which were partially offset by a 0.2 percent increase in average hourly earnings.

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

Average weekly earnings rose by 4.0 percent from January 2006 to January 2007. After deflation by the CPI-W, average weekly earnings increased by 2.1 percent. Before adjustment for seasonal change and inflation, average weekly earnings were $573.48 in January 2007, compared with $558.71 a year earlier.

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