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October 16, 2003
Real Earnings Dip in September
Real average weekly earnings--wages adjusted to account for inflation--decreased by 0.3 percent from August to September after seasonal adjustment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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The change resulted from a 0.1 percent decline in average hourly earnings and a 0.3 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Average weekly hours were unchanged.

The department collects data on average weekly earnings from the payroll reports of private businesses. 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 2.1 percent, seasonally adjusted, from September 2002 to September 2003. 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 $523.22 in September 2003, compared with $516.76 a year earlier.

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