The headline of the piece told readers "Wages are rising in Europe. But economists are puzzled." Yes, well it does seem pretty puzzling, since it's not clear what wage increases the piece is talking about.

Here is the key paragraph:

"When official data last month showed that hourly wages in the eurozone rose 2 percent in the first three months of 2018 — finally — the central bank got the signal it was looking for. It announced it would end its main stimulus measure at the end of the year. At its meeting on Thursday, the Governing Council is expected to reaffirm that plan."

Okay, 2.0 percent growth in the average hourly wage over the last year. This appears to be nominal wages, which in the context of the eurozone's 2.0 percent inflation, translates into exactly 0.0 percent real wage growth.

I double-checked this looking at the eurostat data and it did, in fact, show that average hourly wages in the eurozone had gone up 2.0 percent over the last year in nominal terms. In other words, zero increase in real wages. Furthermore, while the 2.0 percent year-over-year increase shown in the first quarter was up from 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, the increase had been 1.8 percent in the second quarter of 2017 as well as the first quarter of 2016.

If we use the first quarter 2016 figure as a reference point, the rate of wage growth has accelerated 0.2 percentage points in two years or 0.1 percentage point annually. This merits a major NYT story? Yes, I am puzzled.

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