Deep Low-Wage Job Losses Create Phantom Raises

Jobs lost during the pandemic are so skewed to lower-income Americans that the average wage didn’t suffer in this tough economy like you might think. In fact, it’s misleadingly high, now topping $30 an hour.

Average hourly wages in the U.S. continued to increase in 2020—even spiking in the early months of the pandemic before decelerating to a more normal trajectory later in the year, according to the ADP Research Institute, a unit of payroll company ADP.  But most workers actually saw little change in their wages, ADP said.
“It’s not that everyone got a raise,” said Adam Looney, an economist and the executive director of the Marriner S. Eccles Institute for Economics and Quantitative Analysis, an academic research arm at the University of Utah. “It’s that all the low-wage workers got fired.”