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A Quick Update of a 2006 Work-Time-Cost Finding

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David Henderson e-mailed me earlier today to ask if I’ve ever updated this post [2] on the work-time cost of some goods found in Sears’s Fall/Winter 1975 catalog.

I did do so – in a fashion, and then only in a PowerPoint presentation.

But I just now checked to see if there’s been any change between 2006 and today in the work-time costs of the particular (kinds of) goods mentioned in that 2006 blog post.

At the websites of Amazon, Home Depot, and Lowe’s, I found goods today comparable to ones in 2006. Using the August 2019 average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees – which are $23.59 [3] – I calculated the 2019 work-time costs.

Even I was surprised to find that, for the goods listed in that 2006 Cafe Hayek post, the work-time cost of acquiring them has fallen, from 2006 to today, by an average of nearly 30 percent. (My guess is that this fall would have been slightly greater were it not for Trump’s trade war war on trade.)