Real U.S. Wage Growth Led by Women Over Last Four Decades

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(Bloomberg) -- For Americans working a full week, inflation-adjusted wages have increased 4.4 percent since 1979, with pay for women accounting for the biggest percentage advance.

Real median earnings for the nation’s 113.4 million full-time wage and salary employees were $881 per week in the first quarter, up 1.8 percent from a year earlier. Since the first quarter of 1979, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics series started, inflation-adjusted wages are up $15. That’s just 0.1 percent on an annualized basis.

Weekly pay for women working full-time has increased almost 24 percent over the last four decades, compared with a 6.1 percent decline for men. While women are making progress in percentage terms, their real median earnings are about $180 less than their counterparts. The data don’t adjust for gender differences across occupations and industries.

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