Real Median and Average Earnings, Normalized to NBER Peak
Reader JohnH provides a graph which seems to show lagging median wages. However, his graph is inexplicably normalized to 2020Q1, when the pandemic was underway. Here are the same series, log-normalized to NBER peak at 2019Q4.
Figure 1: Average weekly real earnings from CES (blue), median weekly real earnings (tan), all in 1982-84$, in logs 2019Q4=0. NBER defined peak-to-trough recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS via FRED, NBER, and author’s calculations.
The average wage in 2023Q1 from the CES is 6% higher than at NBER peak, while median wage from the CPS is 3% higher.