- Workers' real median earnings increased 3.4% to $40,247 between 2017 and 2018, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report. The report, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2018, also revealed an addition of 2.3 million full-time U.S. workers for the time period.
- Broken down by gender, men fared better than women. 2018 real median earnings were at $55,291 for men who work full-time and $45,097 for women who work the same. Earnings increased for men by 3.4% and by 3.3% for women, the bureau said.
- As earnings rose slightly, the poverty rate slightly decreased. At 11.8%, the poverty rate for 2018 was down by .5% from 2017, the bureau said. For the first time in 11 years, the poverty rate was significantly lower than in 2007, the year before the country's last recession, the data showed.
Workers are starting to see modest wage gains as the talent market continues to challenge employers. Certain large companies, like Walmart, have even backed a raise in the minimum rate nationwide, while Bank of America and other organizations are ratcheting up their starting pay rates over time to attract and retain workers. While that may impact profitability, the ability to retain talent may make higher wages a trade-off organizations are willing to accept. With the impending holiday shopping season pushing some employers to the compete for retail, warehouse and distribution workers, more wage increases could be on the horizon.
The Census Bureau data also underscores the gender disparity in wages. On average, women's earnings peak earlier and at a lower scale than their male counterparts', according to a recent Payscale analysis. In fact, wage gaps by gender and race appear to be persistent and growing despite the tight talent market and awareness of gender parity issues.