To be precise, back to 1956.
Lately, I’ve encountered with unusual frequency claims that the 1950s were a glorious economic time for America’s middle-class – a time so glorious, what with strong labor unions and high (above 90%!) marginal income-tax rates and all, that we middle-class Americans of today should look back with longing and envy on those marvelous years of six decades ago.
So on Saturday I bought on eBay this Fall/Winter 1956 Sears catalog. I spent an extra $8-and-change to have it shipped to me overnight – a service that I could not have purchased in 1956. My catalog arrived on my doorstep today. I’m eager to explore it and to report my findings with some thoroughness.
But to give you a taste now, below is a sample of what I plan to do.
Having on hand information on the nominal average hourly earnings of nonsupervisory nonfarm private production workers in the U.S. in 2012 - that figure being $19.79 (as of October 2012) - I searched for the same earnings figure for 1956. Thus far I’ve had no luck finding that number. (Please feel free, I bleg of you, to help me find this figure, if you so desire.) So, for 1956 I instead use average hourly manufacturing earnings of production workers, as reported in Table 1 here. That figure is $1.89. To Read More…..