Wage Rigidity Meter

The statistics on this page offer a closer examination of the annual wage changes of U.S. workers that have not changed jobs over the year. They include graphs of the fraction of workers receiving a wage change of zero in several demographic subgroups of the U.S. labor force, as well as a histogram showing all of the reported wage changes among these workers in the last four quarters. The data for these statistics are drawn from a matched Current Population Survey dataset (see Daly, Hobijn, Wiles 2011 for details on the matching procedure). The Current Population Survey is a monthly nationally representative survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The summary statistics on this page will be updated on a quarterly frequency.

  • Type of pay
  • Educational attainment
  • Selected industries
  • Distribution of wage changes

The above chart displays the percentage of workers who saw no change in their wage over the past year. This statistic is calculated for all workers, for workers paid at an hourly rate, and for non-hourly workers.

Estimates of the percent of workers with a rigid wage in time series charts are averages of monthly rates taken over a 12-month period. In the histogram and the table below, all observations over a 12-month period are pooled and then used to calculate the percent of rigid wages. Estimates from these two methods may differ very slightly.

The above chart displays the percentage of workers with various levels of educational attainment who saw no change in their wage over the past year.

Estimates of the percent of workers with a rigid wage in time series charts are averages of monthly rates taken over a 12-month period. In the histogram and the table below, all observations over a 12-month period are pooled and then used to calculate the percent of rigid wages. Estimates from these two methods may differ very slightly.

The above chart displays the percentage of workers in the construction, finance, and manufacturing industries who saw no change in their wage over the past year.

Estimates of the percent of workers with a rigid wage in time series charts are averages of monthly rates taken over a 12-month period. In the histogram and the table below, all observations over a 12-month period are pooled and then used to calculate the percent of rigid wages. Estimates from these two methods may differ very slightly.

Displayed is a histogram of reported wage changes over the past year for U.S. workers that have not changed jobs throughout the year. This histogram is overlaid with a normal distribution centered at the median reported wage change.

Estimates of the percent of workers with a rigid wage in time series charts are averages of monthly rates taken over a 12-month period. In the histogram and the table below, all observations over a 12-month period are pooled and then used to calculate the percent of rigid wages. Estimates from these two methods may differ very slightly.

Distribution of Nominal Wage Changes

4-Quarter Average 2013Q3 2013Q4 2014Q1 2014Q2 2014Q3
Difference of log wage from one year prior
25th Percentile -0.027-0.028-0.030-0.025-0.023
Median 0.0180.0170.0170.0190.020
75th Percentile 0.1030.1020.1010.1050.105
Percentage of workers reporting a wage change of zero
15.5915.6415.6315.4015.54

References

Daly, Mary C., Bart Hobijn, and Brian Lucking. 2012. Why Has Wage Growth Stayed Strong? FRBSF Economic Letter 2012-11 (April 2).

Daly, Mary C., Bart Hobijn, and Theodore S. Wiles. 2011. Dissecting Aggregate Real Wage Fluctuations: Individual Wage Growth and the Composition Effect FRBSF Working Paper 2011-23.


Nominal Wage Rigidity Data Release (Excel document, 66 kb)


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