Why? Why Does the Media Routinely Lie About Worker Wages and Compensation?

The Wall Street Journal is excited:

American workers received their biggest pay raises in a nearly decade in the year to June, a sign the strong labor market and low unemployment is boosting wages as employers compete for scarcer workers. The employment-cost index, a measure of wages and benefits for civilian workers, rose 2.8% in the 12 months to June, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Wages and salaries, which account for about 70% of total compensation, also rose 2.8% from a year earlier. That marked the strongest gain for both measures since September 2008.

I am so tired of this shit I could croak. Unless I missed it because I was so annoyed, there’s not a single mention in the Journal story about what this “pay raise” looks like adjusted for inflation. So for your edification, here’s the ECI itself adjusted for inflation

It doesn’t really seem to be growing much lately, does it? Here’s another chart showing the year-over-year growth of the ECI adjusted for inflation:

Yep, you read that right: growth from June 2017 to June 2018 is a whopping 0.13 percent. That’s how much the average cost of employing someone has increased over the past year. That includes wages, health care, Social Security payments, office costs, pension benefits, etc. etc. It’s the whole enchilada. Total it up and it comes to 0.13%.

Does this mean that the “steady drumbeat of rising inflation continues”? I suppose, but you could simply put up a chart showing the inflation rate if that’s the point you wanted to make. Conversely, “U.S. Workers Get Biggest Pay Increase in Nearly a Decade” is just a straight lie by any measure. In fact, worker compensation increased at its lowest rate since 2014.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate