The Washington Post has an article with the headline: “Wage Growth Is Eroding As Firms Rush To Slim Down“. It opens with this example:

“In December, Timothy Owner, a trombone player with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, called his landlord to tell her he might have trouble paying rent around May. He and the orchestra’s 53 other full-time members, many of whom are paid less than $30,000 a year, had agreed to a month-long furlough.

The furlough, which ended yesterday, was rough, Owner said. But he and other musicians acknowledged that the alternative could have been worse. “We’re less unhappy if this means the orchestra will survive,” he said.”

Unless Mr. Owner got a really big raise last year, it seems odd to describe the loss of one twelfth of his annual income as “erosion of wage growth”, as opposed to a great big decline. But what’s even odder is the idea that workers have had much in the way of “wage growth” recently. Consider this chart:


Ten percent over thirty years is not very much. Is it possible to erode a grain of sand?