Question for Doug

Stannard67 at Stannard67 at
Sat May 5 13:24:01 PDT 2001

I'm engaged in a bit of a scuffle over productivity and wages. During this argument, I cited the statistics and conclusions made on

Below is a response from my opponent who, as I interpret it, is accusing the LBO of lying. Any light you could shed on his analysis would be appreciated.


********************** The first thing I did was check what a 30 year .01% average increase would mean, compound interest wise. Unless my calculator has a large hole in it somewhere it predicts that if you earned one real dollar in 1970 then you would be earning $1014 real dollars today.

Then I went over to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) to see if their original numbers bore out the authors claims. Some of the highlights (all of these data are in constant year 2000 real dollars, i.e. adjusted for inflation and all that jazz):

Average hourly wage in private sector :

Jan 1964, $2.32 Jan 2001, $14.01

All of the following values adjusted w/ 1992 as the baseline 100.0:

Productivity : 118.6 Work Week duration : 100.9 Compensation : 157.6

For the non mathematically inclined, that means productivity increased by 20% in 8 years while wages and other compensation went up by half.

Conclusion : Empirically deny all statements as they regard the last decade made by the Left Business Observer (and I'd do it back until 1960 except I'm bone tired of searching for data).

Patrick McKenzie

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