During the past year, 95 million working Americans, representing 82% of the workforce, received real wage gains, according to the National Association of Manufacturers' Annual Labor Day Report. Manufacturing workers led the pack earning 30% more than the average wage for the private sector workforce.
NAM chief economist David Huether said the average yearly compensation for a full time worker in manufacturing rose to $68,860, compared to an average of $53,500 in the rest of the private sector workforce, in large measure because modern manufacturing demands advanced skills and training. "The challenge of finding qualified workers is not just a cyclical annoyance, but rather a serious long-term problem," he said, adding that manufacturers ranked finding qualified workers second only to health care as a major concern.
"This marks the broadest gain in real wages since 2000 when 95% of the workforce experienced real wage gains," said Huether. "In fact, during the past 12 months only three industry sectors experienced declines in real wages -- retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and utilities."
Job growth, however, has slowed over the past year compared to the same period a year ago. "Private sector employment has grown by just 1.6 million over the past 12 months," Huether said. "This is half a million fewer jobs than were created this time last year, and the slowest pace in nearly three years."