American Workers' Wages Go Down in 2005

There is an AP story today discussing the recently published employment conpensation index used to track employee wages nationwide. Unfortunately, the numbers for 2005 weren't good. For the year, workers achieved a 3.1% increase in total compensation. Wages and salaries (excluding benefits) only rose 2.6%.

When the rate of inflation is incorporated into the calculation, employee's total compensation actually fell 0.3%. According to the article, this is the worst showing in 10 years.

The good news for companies: their efforts to cut back on benefits to employees is saving the corporation money. Items such as health insurance and pensions - which rose 6.9% in 2004, only increased 4.5% last year. And executives were rewarded for their cost cutting. According to Strategic HR Lawyer.com, executive compensation rose 12% in 2005. (This is actually a modest increase compared to the numbers if limited to CEOs. In 2004 (I haven't found numbers for '05 yet.) the heads of America's 500 largest companies received an aggregate 54% pay raise. Strategic HR Lawyer goes on to intimate how unsurprising it is that there is friction between employees and management. We couldn't agree more. Until corporate management begins showing real leadership, instead of real greed, employment lawyers will continue to have plenty of work.

Here are some related links:State by State wage analysis from the Economic Policy Institute.________________________________Don't forget to listen to our weekly Podcast:This Week in Employment Law.Sexual Harassment, Pregnancy Discrimination, Age Discrimination, San Antonio, Employment Lawyer