Have Earnings Actually Declined? - Brookings Institution
The Hamilton Project has produced a fairly stunning chart, suggesting that median real wages for men have dropped significantly more than is commonly understood:
The red line is the usual picture of median earnings for full-time men. The problem with this line is that the percentage of men working over time has been declining over time. This attrition or dropping out of the labor force is not random, though, as the decline in full-time work it is disproportionately concentrated among low-skill men. This means that the red line is being propped up by the fact that it is increasingly comprised of higher skilled men.
One sensible correction for this is to calculate the median wage for all men (not just the full-time workers). This is the blue line in the below graph.
Why is this important? The full-time sample (red line) suggests that median wages have been stagnant since 1969.
The Hamilton Project said the blue line or full sample of men (which accounts for reduced labor force participation) suggested that median wages had declined by 28 percent, or almost $13,000.
(via NYT Economix)