A Warning Sign from the Latest Wage Data: Update
Note from dshort: I've added a second chart below to show the correlation between hourly earnings and inflation.
Over the weekend, my virtual friend and occasional correspondent New Deal Democrat requested some assistance on visualizing Average Hourly Earnings of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees: Total Private, a series produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and conveniently published in the FRED repository. Here is his request and initial observations:
"Would you please prepare a graph of the 3 month moving average of series AHETPI, wages for nonsupervisory personnel, going all the way back to the beginning of the series, and mark a line at its current reading, which if my math is correct is +.049%. If I've done my math correctly, the only other times the reading was lower since the series began in the 1960s, was Nov 2011-Jan 2012, and Dec 2011-Feb 2012."
Here is the Excel chart created in response to NDD's request. As NDD correctly pointed out, the latest data point is the lowest in this series with the exception of two monthly averages about three years ago.
For NDD's analysis, along with several other graphs, see his article:
In response to an email question about the subtle and not-so-subtle curves in the series. Is there something hidden in the data, or is it just an odd artifact?
A significant underlying factor is inflation. The series is nominal, not adjusted for inflation. Here is the same chart with an overlay of the year-over-year percent change in the Consumer Price Index.