November 01, 1999
Last year, wages and salaries adjusted for inflation increased by 2.2 percent in private industry—the same change as in 1997. The 1998 increase marked the sixth year in a row that inflation-adjusted wages and salaries rose.
Since its inception in the mid-1970s, the Employment Cost Index for wages and salaries in private industry adjusted for inflation has increased in 14 years and has fallen in 9. The largest increase in the constant-dollar ECI for wages and salaries occurred in 1982, when it rose by 2.4 percent. The steepest decline took place in 1979, when the constant-dollar ECI for wages and salaries fell by 4.1 percent.
The Employment Cost Index is a fixed-employment-weighted index that tracks quarterly changes in labor costs, free from the influence of employment shifts among occupations and industries. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) is used to adjust the ECI for inflation.
These data are a product of the BLS Employment Cost Trends program. Annual changes are December to December. Find out more in Employment Cost Indexes, 1975-98, BLS Bulletin 2514.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Movements in constant-dollar wages and salaries, 1976-98 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/nov/wk1/art01.htm (visited April 29, 2016).
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Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.