Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New CAP Analysis Finds Workers’ Paychecks Are Growing More Quickly Than Prices
Press Release

RELEASE: New CAP Analysis Finds Workers’ Paychecks Are Growing More Quickly Than Prices

Washington, D.C. — The United States has experienced a historically strong recovery from the COVID-19 recession in 2023, with more jobs and larger inflation-adjusted gross domestic product than expected before the pandemic. A new analysis by the Center for American Progress finds most workers’ paychecks are growing more quickly than prices. 

This analysis reveals that in November 2023, almost 6 in 10 individual workers earned higher annual inflation-adjusted wages than they did the year before. This is above the pre-pandemic 2017–2019 average. In fact, the median inflation-adjusted change in workers’ hourly earnings equated to an annual increase of more than $900 for a worker who works full time, year-round. This new analysis also finds that: 

  • More than 40 percent of workers have seen annual real wage growth above 5 percent, in line with the pre-pandemic average.
  • Young adult workers who were ages 25 to 34 in 2019 have seen their median wage rise 12 percent since the onset of the pandemic. 
  • Real average wage growth for a typical worker has seen the second-fastest recovery during this recent recovery out of all five recession recoveries since 1980.

“Workers’ wages outpacing costs indicates that this economy is delivering a historic recovery after facing one of the deepest recessions on record,” said Brendan Duke, senior director for economic policy at CAP and author of the issue brief. “Policymakers must build on this momentum and take further action to raise wages and cut costs of living by increasing the federal minimum wage, making more workers eligible for overtime pay, and improving the affordability of child care and health care.”

Read the issue brief: “Workers’ Paychecks Are Growing More Quickly Than Prices” by Brendan Duke

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Sarah Nadeau at [email protected].     

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