When unemployment is low, pay growth keeps pace with productivity: Average annual difference between productivity growth and pay growth by years grouped into low, medium, or high unemployment, 1949–2017
|Annual average of difference between productivity and pay growth
|Lowest unemployment years
|Medium unemployment years
|Highest unemployment years
Notes: Bars represent average annual difference between productivity growth and growth in hourly pay for typical workers for years with the highest, lowest, and medium unemployment rates from 1949 to 2017. Lowest unemployment group includes the 17 years with the lowest rates of unemployment in the 68-year sample, highest unemployment group includes the 17 years with the highest rates of unemployment in the sample, and medium unemployment group includes the 34 remaining years in the sample. The growth of the productivity–pay gap is highlighted in EPI’s productivity–pay tracker (epi.org/productivity-pay-gap).
Source: EPI analysis of unpublished Total Economy Productivity data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Labor Productivity and Costs program, wage data from BLS Current Employment Statistics, BLS Employment Cost Trends, BLS Consumer Price Index, Bureau of Economic Analysis National Income and Product Accounts, and BLS Current Population Survey public data