Wage growth outpaced 11 of the 12 items reviewed.
Professor Justin Wolfers analyzes the price increase rates of 12 Christmas items as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) over the last 12 months. They range from a 6.2 percent increase for candy to a 12.1 percent decrease for airline fares.
We know that prices can go up and become more affordable at the same time. To discover if this is true we must compare prices to hourly wages to see if abundance is increasing or decreasing. The BLS reports that the average hourly wage increased by 3.96 percent over the last 12 months. This allows us to calculate the time prices for all of these items. Comparing the change in time prices over time reveals changes in abundance. This is what we found:
Abundance ranges from a 2.1 percent decrease for candy to an 18.3 percent increase for airfares. Note that CPI increased by 3.1 percent versus 3.96 percent for average hourly wages. Wages increased 27.7 percent faster than prices.
The message this Christmas is to eat less candy and travel more.