The only period of high pressure in the labor market since 1979 led to rapid wage gains: Average annual wage growth from 1996–2001 vs. all other years between 1979 and 2017

Wage percentile All other post-1979 years 1996–2001
20th -0.15% 1.75%
Median -0.02% 1.66%
95th 1.01% 1.96%

Note: Wage growth is inflation-adjusted.

Source: Authors’ calculations from data obtained from the State of Working America Data Library from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI 2018)

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