(Bloomberg) — The median weekly earnings of full-time workers in America jumped more than 10% in second quarter from a year earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
The data marks the largest increase in the four decades that the agency has tracked it but is skewed by a more sobering reality: massive job losses among lower-wage workers.
“The unusually large increase in median weekly earnings in the second quarter reflects the fact that employment declined more for lower-paid workers than for higher-paid workers,” the report noted.
The trend first started to become clear in labor-market data in April, after businesses across the U.S. shuttered to stem the spread of the virus, putting millions out of work. It’s become more pronounced since.
Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 104.5 million full-time salaried workers surpassed $1,000 for the first time as of June 30, according to the report.
In essence, workers at the lower end of the wage scale –including retail and restaurant staff — lost a disproportionate number of jobs during the Covid-induced business closures. That pushed up average hourly pay for those left working.
By race, Asians working at full-time jobs earned the most at $1,336, followed by Whites, who made $200 a week more than Blacks. Median weekly earnings of Hispanics were lowest at $786.
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