After several decades of stagnation, real earnings for full-time U.S. workers are on the upswing. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that between 2015 and 2018, inflation-adjusted earnings for full-time wage and salary workers increased by more than 3.0 percent. Similarly, newly released data from the Census Bureau shows that inflation-adjusted earnings across all full-time workers increased by 2.2 percent over the same time period.

Not all workers are seeing larger paychecks. According to data from the BLS, flight attendants had a nearly 18 percent increase in earnings from 2015 to 2018, outranking all other occupations with at least 100,000 workers. Farm workers and laborers, food preparation workers, and dishwashers also experienced large increases in real earnings, ranging from nearly 11 to over 16 percent. At the opposite end of the spectrum, postal service workers and financial services sales agents experienced the largest declines in real earnings among the nation’s most popular occupations, at 11 percent and 15 percent respectively.


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