While hourly wages have increased, inflation has gone up much faster in the U.S. since President Trump took office according to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The average hourly wage increased a little over a dollar — from $25.99 to $27.05 — starting in January 2017 until July 2018. However, real wages have only risen by 0.2 percent. After factoring in inflation, the wage increase from $10.65 in January 2017 to $10.76 in July 2018 was a mere 11 cents.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump boasted his presidency would bring new jobs and raises for working-class Americans. While the unemployment rate has been at its lowest in decades, worker pay has remained stagnant.
Pew Research has reported that today’s real average wage has the same purchasing power it did 40 years ago.
Specifically, the cost of living has increased 2.9 percent from July 2017 to July 2018. In a year, gas prices rose by 50 cents. In addition, Americans are paying more for their car and health insurance, housing and energy consumption.
The cost of living isn’t the only metric to see an increase either. The percentage of Americans who say they feel satisfied also increased over the past year, from 27 percent to 36 percent.
Increased sanctification is split between political parties, however. Democrats were more likely to be satisfied when asked in 2016. Now, Republican satisfaction is rapidly increasing since Trump’s presidential election victory.
A week before the 2016 election, Republicans claimed the economy was getting worse while Democrats said it was getting better. Post-election, Republicans reported their income increased 61 percent. Meanwhile, 56 percent of Democrats revealed they had fallen behind.
“We are nearly a decade into the recovery and we’re still arguing about whether or not we’re seeing meaningful gains in wages. That should be a given at this point in the cycle,” said Lindsey Piegza, a leading macroeconomic expert.
American workers wonder why their paychecks aren’t increasing if the economy is doing so well. Some economists think this is a result of the Great Recession, while others claim it’s a lack of productivity growth.
With no noticeable wage increase, Americans are picking up more shifts and working longer hours, as the Labor Department reports workers are putting in more time on the job this summer compared to last.