Real earnings in December 2009

January 22, 2010

Real average hourly earnings fell 1.3 percent, seasonally adjusted, from December 2008 to December 2009. A 0.3-percent decline in average weekly hours combined with the decrease in real average hourly earnings resulted in a 1.6-percent decrease in real average weekly earnings during this period.

Over-the-year percentage change in real average hourly and weekly earnings, seasonally adjusted
[Chart data]

From November 2009 to December 2009, real average hourly earnings, seasonally adjusted, did not change. A 0.2-percent increase in average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers was offset by a 0.2-percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

Real average weekly earnings was unchanged over the month, seasonally adjusted. This stems from no change in real average hourly earnings and in average weekly hours. Since reaching a recent high point in December 2008, real average weekly earnings have fallen by 1.6 percent.

Effective with the release of January 2010 data on February 19, 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will introduce changes to the Real Earnings news release text and tables in order to incorporate new all employee hours and earning data. New real earnings for all employees will be calculated using the 1982-1984 based Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). Real Earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees will be revised to use the 1982-1984 based Consumer Prices Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Previously, Real Earnings were calculated using an unpublished CPI-W with a base of 1982.

These data are from the Current Employment Statistics program. Earnings data are preliminary and subject to revision. To learn more, see "Real Earnings—December 2009" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-10-0012.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Real earnings in December 2009 on the Internet at (visited September 29, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • 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.