U.S. Manufacturing Workers Get a Pay Cut Under Trump (even before COVID-19)

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"Donald Trump" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by Gage Skidmore

Trump coined the phrase, “blue-collar boom” in his 2020 State of the Union address. Unfortunately for manufacturing workers, that boom is a bust. Real wages are down over 4% since Trump took office.

“That’s not what I heard!”

The President loves to brag about wages going up but unfortunately, those are “nominal” wages (meaning raw numbers) not “real” wages which account for inflation. A nominal wage increase is only a real increase if all of your other expenses stay the same. That of course doesn’t happen because of inflation.

Martin LaMonica of The Conversation explains this perfectly:

“The data on manufacturing workers show inflation-adjusted wages and fringe benefits have declined sharply since late 2017. Even unadjusted nominal wages have begun to stagnate.”
Real Wages Drop Under Trump

Remember when Donald Trump said this? “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created … our poorer citizens will get new jobs and higher pay and new hope for their life.” Donald Trump, October 5, 2016

Another promise broken.

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The adjusted data, however, make it look more like a bust, with wages plunging 3.88% in the period. And, again, the situation is worse when we add in fringe benefits, which brings the decline to 4.33%.
The Conversation