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Relative to the compensation of U.S. production workers, food was almost 12 times as affordable in 2019 as it was in 1919

Blue-Collar Workers and Food Prices in America (1919-2019) by Marian L. Tupy of The Cato Institute. 

The article has some interesting graphs and tables that I don’t show. Excerpts:

“Together with Gale Pooley, associate professor of business management, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, I found that, relative to the compensation of production workers, food was almost 12 times as affordable in 2019 as it was in 1919.”

What were the results?

  • The time price (i.e. nominal price divided by nominal hourly wage) of our basket of commodities fell from 27.26 hours of work to 3.85 (see the Totals line in column three and five).
  • The unweighted average time price fell by 87 percent (see the Totals line in column six).
  • Put differently, for the same amount of work that allowed a production worker to purchase one basket of the 42 commodities in 1919, he or she could buy 11.73 baskets in 2019 (see the Totals line in column seven).
  • The compounded rate of “affordability” of our basket of commodities rose at 2.49 percent per year (see the Totals line in column eight).
  • Put differently, a production worker saw his or her purchasing power double every 28 years (see the Totals line in column nine).”

See Unskilled Workers and Food Prices in America (1919-2019) by Marian L. Tupy of The Cato Institute.


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Author Of this post: Cyril Morong
Title Of post: Relative to the compensation of U.S. production workers, food was almost 12 times as affordable in 2019 as it was in 1919
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