Trends in real hourly compensation
June 09, 2005
Increases in employee compensation substantially outpaced increases in consumer prices during the late 1990s. Real compensation continued to grow from 2000 to 2003, although at a somewhat slower rate than in the late 1990s.
Such compensation trends can be examined using data from various BLS programs. One source, the Productivity and Costs program, provides an index of real hourly compensation (that is, hourly compensation adjusted for inflation).
During the 1990-91 recession and into 1992, the index of real hourly compensation rose moderately. In 1993 and 1994, real hourly compensation declined somewhat before growing moderately in 1995, 1996 and 1997. In 1998, real hourly compensation grew very strongly and growth continued at a more moderate pace in 1999 and 2000. Real hourly compensation growth slowed in the recession year of 2001 but generally remained positive through 2003.
These data on real compensation are from the BLS Productivity and Costs program. To learn more, see "Real compensation, 1979 to 2003: analysis from several data sources," by Joseph R. Meisenheimer II, Monthly Labor Review, May 2005. Note that, in this article, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers Research Series (CPI–U–RS) is used to adjust for inflation.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Trends in real hourly compensation on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2005/jun/wk1/art04.htm (visited January 23, 2017).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
Workplace injuries and illnesses and employer costs for workers’ compensation
Workplace injury and illness data and the costs to employers for workers’ compensation in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.
A look at the future of the U.S. labor force to 2060
Projected long-term trends in the growth, size, and composition of the labor force.
Union membership in the United States
Historical trends in union membership among employed wage and salary workers; union membership by a variety of demographic characteristics.
A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
Spending on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.
Self-employment in the United States
Trends in self-employment by various demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, including both the unincorporated and the incorporated self-employed, as well as data on paid employees who work for the self-employed.