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Flat U.S. Wages Help Fuel Rebound in Manufacturing

Wall Street Journal (05/29/12) David Wessel; James R. Hagerty

Although U.S. manufacturing plants are experiencing a revival, wages for many manufacturing workers are flat. Indeed, lagging wages are a major factor contributing to the U.S. manufacturing revival. Many U.S. companies have negotiated contracts with unions that allow the companies to pay new workers lower wages than existing workers. Earnings for production and other nonsupervisory workers averaged $19.15 an hour in April, down 3.2% from March 2009. Meanwhile, some unions are accepting the use of lower-paid “casual” workers.