Big rise in Hawaii’s average wage is deceptive

Inflation has taken a toll on Hawaii's average wages.

Though Hawaii’s average paycheck has grown over the decades, inflation has eaten all the gains and more

The average annual wage in Hawaii grew by 631 percent from 1969 to 2012. But when inflation is taken into account, the average wage in 2012 (latest data available) was actually slightly lower than in 1969.

The red line tracks Hawaii’s average annual wage in dollars that were not adjusted for inflation. The blue line shows the value of that average annual wage after accounting for the Consumer Price Index for Honolulu, using constant 1982-4 dollars. There is no equivalent CPI for the entire state, so Honolulu’s CPI is an imperfect stand-in.

Wages sources: state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (2012 data). CPI source: federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

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Hawaii Business,August