Wages jumped in 2021, but inflation jumped higher


According to a Jan. 28 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), wages for U.S. workers rose 4.5% in 2021 on average, the fastest rate in 13 years. And some wages rose faster than others. The biggest raises were in “leisure and hospitality” (such as restaurant workers) where wages jumped 14%. Overall, private sector workers got 5% raises on average, while public sector workers averaged 2.7%.

But working people might want to hold off popping the champagne, because it just got a bit more pricey. In a separate report on consumer prices, BLS calculated the overall inflation rate at 7% in 2021, the highest rate in 39 years. But that too is an average, and some prices rose faster than others. Highest was gas, which rose in price 49.6%, and used cars, at 37.3%. Incredibly, the price of prescription drugs, on average, stayed the same.    

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