Wages

Median household earnings grow for third year in a row

Someone holding a handful of cash at an ATM
Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The median household income for Americans grew by 1.8% in 2017 to $61,400, with men and white Americans benefiting most, according to the newest Census data released Wednesday.

The big picture: This is the third year of growth for household median income, and there were 1.7 million more workers with earnings and 2.4 million more with full-time work. When adjusted for changes to the survey, the median income is not statistically different from pre-recession levels or the highest recorded median income in 1999, per the Census. Median earnings for men increased by 3%, while there was no significant change in women's earnings. White and Hispanic households saw a third consecutive year of increased income.

Wage growth takes center stage

Data: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Note: Seasonally adjusted; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Wage growth, up 2.9% in August from the year before, was the standout figure in Friday's jobs report.

Why it matters: For almost a decade, weak wage growth has defied the economic recovery and has bedeviled workers. Perhaps no longer, according to Joseph Song, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Song predicts this is just the beginning of "better wage dynamics," and it could continue in coming months.