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AP FACT CHECK: Trump on wage gains

February 6, 2019
AP Fact Check;

WASHINGTON (AP) — A look at one of President Donald Trump’s statements from his State of the Union address on Tuesday night and how it compares with the facts:

TRUMP: “Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades, and growing for blue collar workers, who I promised to fight for, they’re growing faster than anyone else thought possible.”

THE FACTS: This is an unsupported statement because the data on hourly wages for private workers only go back to 2006, not decades.

But data on wages for production workers date back to 1939 — and Trump’s claim appears to be unfounded.

Average hourly earnings for production and non-supervisory workers are up 3.4 percent over the past year, according to the Labor Department. Those wage gains were higher as recently as early 2009. And they were averaging roughly 4 percent before the start of the Great Recession in late 2007.

There are other ways to track wage gains — and those don’t work in Trump’s favor, either.

Adjusted for inflation, median weekly wages rose just 0.6 percent in 2018. The gains in weekly wages were 2.1 percent in 2015.

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