Average Hourly Earnings, 2000-2022M02

Were wages flat during the Obama administration? Did they rise appreciably faster in the first three years of Trump (as asserted by this commentator)? 30 seconds of data retrieval reveals the answer is “no”.

Here’s the picture:

Figure 1: Real average hourly earnings in private nonfarm payroll sector, production and nonsupervisory workers, in 2020$, deflated by CPI (blue), by PCE deflator (brown), both on log scale. Source: BLS via FRED, and author’s calculations.

Annualized growth rate of real (PCE deflated) wage was about 1% during Obama administration. It was about a quarter of a percentage point higher during the first three years of the Trump administration, but that difference was nowhere near statistically significantly different.