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Despite the highest inflation in 40-years, real wages are higher than pre-pandemic as of May 2022. Real wages in May 2022, as calculated by the ratio of Avg. Hrly Earnings to CPI, is actually up 1.4% since Jan 2020.
Average Hourly Earnings are of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees, Total Private, which Paul Krugman used in his Jan 25th op-ed discussing the inflation narrative.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Discussion of inflation by outlets/sites/authors of all political orientations has increased. However, the Far Right media and Slightly Right media have increased their coverage of inflation more than the Far Left and Slightly Left, especially since the turn of 2021 when President Biden took office.
At its peak in March 2022, the Far Right was talking about inflation 2.4 times the rate they were Dec 2020-Feb-2021 while the Far Left was talking about inflation 1.5 times the rate they were in Dec 2020-Feb-2021. The period Dec 2020-Feb-2021 was chosen as the base because it’s roughly half before and half after Biden’s inauguration.
More positive economic terms like “employment,” “jobs,” “raises,” and “wages” were actually talked about disproportionately less frequently by the Far Left in June, July, and August of 2021, but disproportionately more since December 2021. This while all other political orientations talked about it less than they did Dec 2020-Feb-2021.
Despite how critical inflation and unemployment are - we’re experiencing the highest inflation in 40 years and we’re just 10 basis points above the lowest unemployment in 50 years - the manner in which outlets with different political orientations talk about the economy changes over time. The data suggests that outlets aligned with the party in power focus on the positives yet minimize the negatives while those not aligned with the party in power do the opposite.
Americans are most worried about inflation
Share of Americans by political affiliation who said each issue was among the most important facing the country
Based on FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos survey conducted April 27-May 5, 2022, among a sample of 2,006 adults that was weighted to match the general population. Respondents could select up to three issues.
Source: FiveThirtyEight, Ipsos
How people feel about the direction on economy appears relatively partisan - with democrats tending to feel it is "Getting Better" more than republicans until the Obama-Trump transition, only to feel like it is "Getting Better" more than republicans again once again shortly after the Biden inauguration.