Congratulations US Worker! You Make 13 Cents More per Hour Than You Did in 1973

But now you have Netflix

Today the BLS reported on hourly wages and real (inflation adjusted) hourly wages. Let’s see how you are doing.

Hourly Earnings for February 2021

The above table is courtesy of the BLS.

February 2021 Details

  • Average hourly earnings rose from $28.51 to $30.01, an increase of $1.50 an hour.
  • You only saw $0.38 of that because inflation-adjusted wages only rose from $11.02 to $11.40.
  • Real average hourly earnings declined in the last two months.
  • Hooray! In January your weekly pay rose. However, you had to work more hours to get that because you lost money on a per-hour basis.
  • Boo. In February your weekly pay declined by a full percentage point because your real pay per hour declined and you also worked fewer hours on average.

Congratulations On Your 13 Cents!

I downloaded all the data and calculated how much more you are making today per hour, on average, inflation-adjusted back to the beginning of the data series in 1964.

Since January 1973, real wages for production and supervisory workers rose by 13 cents per hour.


In nominal terms the average production and supervisory worker made $4.03 in 1973 which the BLS says was really worth $9.44.

This has to do with the inflation index date set to 1982-1984 at 100.

Anyway, spend your 13 cents per hour increase wisely because home prices are not even in the CPI.

Source: Mish Talk

  1. GMC says

    That 9.44 an hour was I got as a Union carpenter on Sears Tower in 73- 74. My rent was 150 bucks, my ford ranchero cost me 3000 bucks- new.

  2. ken says

    I made $5 per hour recapping tires in 1969. I could buy a pair of “””REAL”””” American Levis for $4.50.

    In 2017 when I retired I made approximately $31 per hour. That equals 567% inflation we didn’t have and a pair of cheap Chinese Levis cost $40.

    Over the 48 years my actual wage decreased 85%.

    And this is using the inflation admitted by the Fed and we all know how truthful they or their government confederates are!

    1. joey_n says

      And yet 50 years on we’re still using $1 bills and pennies. By not introducing any larger denominations (e.g. a proper $1 coin that can be distinguished from the quarter and doesn’t turn black from wear and tear, or even banknotes greater than $100), the Fed is certainly playing a dirty game here.

  3. tobi999 says

    yeah but the 13 cent in 1970 had more purchasing power than today!!! hthanks FED and Wallstree and City of London banker maifia

  4. joey_n says

    The #1 real sign your currency is getting worthless is when coins in circulation are worth more in metal value than the value printed on it. In the United States today, people are hoarding coins to melt them down and sell as metal; there are big profits to be made.

    While countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand have successfully removed 1-cent pieces from circulation and replaced their $1 and $2 notes with coins, the USA continues to use pennies and $1 bills as if nothing changed since the 1950s and ’60s. To me this has been one long-standing pet peeve with life in the USA, and two reasons I’ve been supportive of Russia’s efforts to de-dollarize.

    To the best of my knowledge every nation outside of the US within the past century has either removed small coins from circulation (e.g. Switzerland’s 1-Rappen piece, Australia’s 1- and 2-cent pieces, and Canada’s penny), replaced small banknotes with coins (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK among others), or redesigned (read: changed the colors and/or sizes of) its existing coinage to be cheaper to mint and more practical to use (e.g. New Zealand in 2006). Some even went and revalued their currencies to remove a few zeroes (e.g. Mexico, Iceland, Finland and France).

    The USA remains an outlier in this regard, having done neither within that same time frame. The way it works, at least how I see it, is that doing either of the three actions would be an open acknowledgement that the US dollar has lost its value over the decades and decrease faith in the dollar as a reserve currency. By maintaining this gimmick, the USA/Fed creates the illusion that (the problem of) inflation does not exist, and as a result people are kept in the dark about inflation that there is little demand for a $1 coin even as they struggle with e.g. paying a laundromat $6 with 24 quarters. It’s thanks to that that coins have since been relegated to mere pocket change. American Exceptionalism™ in a nutshell.

    Some argue that paper money has a higher psychological value and keeps inflation down. But what about the inflation that has occurred even without $1 coins? What else explains the increase in price of goods and services? At least coins don’t have to be replaced every two years, and coin mechs work every time.

    Speaking for myself, I used to attend classes at university. Some of the vending machines looked as if they were built and installed within the past two decades, if not one, and yet they wouldn’t accept my dollar coins as payment, let alone dispense them as change. Who in his right mind wants to receive a stack of quarters as change?

  5. Jerry Hood says

    My steel bab.- coded welder job for 17$ per hour in 1984 was top salary in WA state, our rent was 300$ 1 bedroom playwood nailed flat -you couldn’ t farth, and we drew old,beaten down 5 liters cadillac engines, for 3,000$ from used cars dealers…Most welders used to work between 11 and 13$ per hour, about 400 $ a week after federal and state tax, faceing VAT tax in shops…It was as ” good” country then, as communist Czechoslovakia…Now,the USrael is as good as Albania or Kosovo, they enslaved from Yugoslav liberty years…

  6. Jerry Hood says

    For the dumbed down US worker is enough daily dose of masspropaganda tha ” they live in the best country in the world”! Netter as Albania or Kosovo…

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