U.S. Suffers Biggest Pay Drop On Record, As Workers Squeezed Tighter

Article author: 
Mark Gongloff
Article publisher: 
Huffington Post
Article date: 
5 June 2013
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

The economic "recovery" just keeps getting worse for the average worker: U.S. employers squeezed their employees even harder than usual in the first quarter, leading to the biggest drop in hourly pay on record.

Hourly pay for nonfarm workers fell at a 3.8 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Wednesday. This was the biggest quarterly decline since the BLS started keeping track in 1947. Some of the drop was payback for a 9.9 percent surge in hourly pay in the fourth quarter of 2012, as employers shoveled money out the door to avoid tax changes they expected to take place in 2013.

But there have been plenty of such quarterly pay increases in the past. Many were even bigger. Some went on for several quarters at a time. And never has there been such a steep pay drop in response as there was in the first quarter of this year...

..even when the economy is productive, pay has been mostly stagnant, as most of the benefits flow to the very top of the income stack.