U.S. Wage Gains Equal -- Even Beat -- Inflation

Worker paycheques south of the border are showing their biggest gains since the recovery began a decade ago, and are more than keeping up with inflation.

Numbers released Wednesday by the U.S. Labor Department show that real average hourly earnings, which compare the nominal rise in wages with the cost of living, rose 1.7% in January on a year-over-year basis.

A month ago, the increase was 1.3%. A year ago, the gain was just 0.7%. In all, the rise in inflation-adjusted hourly pay showed the best increase since July 2016.

The trend comes amid a steadily rising level in gross average hourly earnings, which increased by 3.2% in January, right around the best levels of the recovery as well.

The hike in real average hourly earnings was below 1% for two full years straight before November 2018's 1.1% gain.

January's consumer price index showed muted overall inflation pressures, but indicated that real average hourly earnings increased by 0.2% for the month. Real average weekly earnings rose 0.1% for the period, representing a 1.9% annualized gain.