The Front Page Is Safe Again for Good Economic News

"...the buying power of American workers is now rising at the fastest rate since the economic boom of the late 1990s."

Now that the Democrats have won, it's apparently safe to feature good economic news on the front page again. That's what the Times does Friday with reporters Jeremy Peters and reporter-columnist David Leonhardt talking up last year's significant wage hikein"Long a Laggard, Wages Start to Outpace Prices."

"After four years in which pay failed to keep pace with price increases, wages for most American workers have begun rising significantly faster than inflation.

"With energy prices now sharply lower than a few months ago and the improving job market forcing employers to offer higher raises, the buying power of American workers is now rising at the fastest rate since the economic boom of the late 1990s.

"The average hourly wage for workers below management level - everyone from school bus drivers to stockbrokers - rose 2.8 percent from October 2005 to October of this year, after being adjusted for inflation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only a year ago, it was falling by 1.5 percent....After years of stagnant, even declining real wages for the typical worker, the recent jump has also delivered a rare bit of good news for a White House coping with an unpopular war and the aftermath of the Democratic victory in the midterm elections."

The Times has written about wages before, inconsistently. On August 28, the Times'lead story from Leonhardt and Steven Greenhousecharged that"wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation's gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960's."

But just three days later (August 31), Peters found "new evidence of a surge in wage-and-salary income in the first half of this year," with pay up "at an annual pace around 7 percent after adjusting for inflation."

Yet that positive story only led the paper's business section, and the paper hardly followed up on the good news. Until now.