“the employment cost index: wages and salaries shows a decline since 4Q19”


I do not understand how one can write this sentence in 2023, and still be living on this planet. I retrieved data from FRED (ECIWAG), version posted on October 16, 2023. I plot:

Figure 1: Employment cost index: wages and salaries: Private Industry Workers (ECIWAG), Dec. 2005=100 (blue), and ECI deflated by chained CPI (adjusted on monthly data using X13) (tan), and ECI deflated by PCE deflator to 2020$. NBER defined peak-to-trough recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS via FRED, BLS (CPI release), NBER, and authors calculations. [corrected and updated 12/14/2023]

The quote is from the same person who asserted that the government was delaying and/or suppressing publication of median wage data, ridiculed the imminent Ukrainian counteroffensive in September 2022, couldn’t find net domestic product in the NIPA accounts, didn’t think that economists discussed monopsony, etc.

Update, 12/14/2023:

Updated graph. I can see how someone might say decline *in the real rate*, although the *real* rate might or might not be higher than 2019Q4, depending on the deflator. The nominal rate (which is what the “ECI: wages and salaries” is when not preceded by an adjective).



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