Can Wage Growth Get Any Worse?

Real average weekly earnings fell in March from the prior year — for the third month in a row.

With inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, starting its downward leg, the wage decline was by the smallest amount — essentially flat but fractionally less than zero.

It was the first time real wages have fallen three months in a row since early 2012. The six-month average is just about zero, too, unsurprisingly also the lowest since mid-2012.

Despite the unemployment rate falling well-below 5 percent, there isn’t the first sign of wage acceleration in nominal terms.

That has left real wages to the whims of oil prices, first as their biggest boost in years as oil prices, like early 2009, collapsed and now on the wrong end of them as they partially rebound.

The overall negative effects aren’t so much the decline in real terms as the

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