For quite some time, Rhode Island's average manufacturing wage has been well below the national average, and far below the levels in MA and CT. While our state's average hourly manufacturing wage in current dollars has shown significant increases during this recovery (which I date as beginning in February of 2010 using my Current Conditions Index), the same has not been true when our state's manufacturing wage is adjusted for changes in purchasing power. The chart below shows this all too clearly (click to enlarge):
After very sharp increases in the first few months of this recovery (February through May of 2010), Rhode Island's inflation-adjusted manufacturing wage has been continually falling. This is not a good thing for our state, even though values for the most recent months have been adversely affected by rising food and energy prices. The implications for state income gains are not promising, and this might prove to be yet another weak point as our state moves toward yet another large budget deficit in FY2010.