Monday, February 20, 2012

US Unit Labor Costs 1947-2011

According to data published by the World Gold Council and Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), US unit labor costs have declined from a peak of over eight-tenths of an ounce of gold (0.82 troy ounces) in 1970, to less than a tenth of an ounce of gold (0.07 troy ounces) in 2011. Thus, unit labor costs have declined by over 91% in the US since 1970 (using troy ounces of gold as the measurement standard).

The question that remains to be asked is why these labor savings (and increases in productivity) are not finding their way into the pockets of workers...

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
Unit labor costs can be computed by dividing employer labor costs (payments made directly to workers plus employer payments into funds for the benefit of workers) by real value added output. Unit labor costs can also be computed by dividing hourly labor costs by output per hour.
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Anonymous said...

Because few employers pay in gold.

Dr William J McKibbin said...

The end of the Vietnam war resulted in a sharp decline in worker real wages via gold revaluations (by Pres Richard Nixon). Likewise, the post-Iraq/Afghanistan era is enduring another horrendous decline in worker real wages, again, via gold revaluations (by the markets).

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