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What's In Your Paycheck?

wages
NPR
wages

The pace of wage growth is one of the best indicators of economic health. But wage growth can be measured using a number of different methods. Each method has strengths and weaknesses, and each method tells a slightly different story about how the economy, and the labor market, is doing.

We speak with economist Ernie Tedeschi, who suggests three different measures of wage growth that we should all be tracking. In chart form, they are:

1. Average Hourly Earnings for all private sector workers:

average hourly wages
/ U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
/
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

2. Employment Cost Index: the total compensation for private industry workers in all industries and occupations:

wages2
/ U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
/
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

3. The Atlanta Fed Wage Growth Tracker by full-time or part-time over two decades:

tracker
/ Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
/
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

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Stacey Vanek Smith is the co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money. She's also a correspondent for Planet Money, where she covers business and economics. In this role, Smith has followed economic stories down the muddy back roads of Oklahoma to buy 100 barrels of oil; she's traveled to Pune, India, to track down the man who pitched the country's dramatic currency devaluation to the prime minister; and she's spoken with a North Korean woman who made a small fortune smuggling artificial sweetener in from China.
Cardiff Garcia is a co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money podcast, along with Stacey Vanek Smith. He joined NPR in November 2017.