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Global Wage Report 2020-21

COVID-19 impact on average wages per country

Early data shows that in some countries, for example the US, average earnings took a surprising jump in the statistics. However, this was largely artificial, reflecting the loss of lower-paying jobs in the economy. When low-paid workers become unemployed, the average wage reflects the wages of the higher-paid workers who remain employed.

In other countries, where unemployment did not increase as much – possibly owing to the use of wage subsidies and other job retention measures – average wages remained flat or declined, as working time was cut or as the nominal wages of workers were frozen or reduced.

The full extent to which the crisis has impacted average wages in 2020 will only become clear as national statistical offices publish their new statistical estimates towards the end of the year or even later.