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As I’ve written repeatedly, I’m convinced that the economic data conclusively show that the U.S. economy on numerous fronts has kicked into a higher gear during the Trump years. But last week’s inflation-adjusted wage figures are an important reminder of one big exception: American workers’ price-adjusted take- home hourly pay.

Indeed, by every relevant measure, these real wages during Mr. Trump’s first 27 months as President have been rising at a pace slower than that during his predecessor Barack Obama’s final 27 months in office. Ditto for manufacturing workers, whose fortunes have been such a Trump focus.

And the comparison flatters Obama even when the data for blue-collar workers – generally the lowest paid members of the American workforce – are stripped out, although in absolute terms the Trump-era performance here has been somewhat better.

Here are the percentage changes through May. (In the lingo of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks these numbers, blue-collar workers are “production and non-supervisory workers.”  And as usual, public sector workers are excluded because their pay levels are overwhelmingly determined by politicians’ decisions, and thus say little about the fundamentals of the economy or the job market.)

                                     m/m        y/y   1st 27 Trump months  last 27 Obama months

private sector:            +0.18     +1.30              +2.06                         +3.00

manufacturing:          +0.28     +0.46               -0.09                         +2.96

private production:    +0.32     +1.73              +2.29                         +3.27

mfg production:        +0.23     +1.03              +2.08                          +2.73

These results continue to be especially surprising given overall unemployment rates that have been at multi-decade lows – which should be forcing wages up, as employers find themselves forced to offer higher pay in order to compete for increasingly scarce workers. And although, as I’ve written, it’s possible that manufacturers in particular have held the line on wages because they’re not able to find workers with anything close to the skills they need, I wonder how understanding such workers will be about this explanation when it comes time to vote for President in 2020.

At the same time, here’s what’s not open to debate: Despite the plunge in the unemployment rate, other measures – notably the Employment-Population ratio and the Labor Force Participation Rate – show that there’s plenty of slack left in the U.S. labor market. If politicians and business leaders really want to see real wages rise healthily again, they’ll need to figure out how to lure able-bodied Americans still on the sidelines back to work.