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Production Workers’ Earnings

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The American economy has experienced a 60% increase in real per capita output since 1970. However, this has not translated into large gains in private production workers’ real average hourly earnings, which consist of their hourly compensation (wages and benefits) as reported by employers. In fact, private production workers’ real hourly earnings, after falling nearly $2 an hour between 1972 and the mid-1990s, only recently returned to the mid-1980s level (about $14 an hour in 2000 dollars). Production (or nonsupervisory) workers, as defined here, comprise slightly more than 80% of the private labor force, a share that has remained roughly constant for 30 years.

Suggested citation: "Production Worker's Earnings," Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Trends, no. 01-03, pp. 13, 03.01.2001.

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