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October 14, 2005
Big Drop in Wages

Inflation-adjusted average weekly earnings fell by 1.2 percent from August to September after seasonal adjustment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

This decline stemmed from a 1.4 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which was partially offset by a 0.2 percent increase in average hourly earnings. Average weekly hours were unchanged.

Average weekly earnings rose by 2.3 percent, seasonally adjusted, from September 2004 to September 2005. After deflation by the CPI-W, average weekly earnings decreased by 2.7 percent.

Before adjustment for seasonal change and inflation, average weekly earnings were $548.24 in September 2005, compared with $530.54 a year earlier.

In September, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 1.2 percent. Energy costs increased sharply and accounted for over 90 percent of the advance in the CPI-U.

The Associated Press reports that consumer prices jumped by the biggest margin in more than 25 years.

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