How recent worker raises are a "money illusion" : Planet Money : The Indicator from Planet Money Although workers across the country have seen an increase in wages, the cost of things like gas and food have also been increasing. This leaves workers wondering whether these raises are real or just an illusion.

The Money Illusion: Have Americans really gotten a raise?

The Money Illusion: Have Americans really gotten a raise?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images
Out of order notes are left on gas pumps to let motorists know the pumps are empty at a gas station in Hollywood, on May 12, 2021. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Like many other workers, Kristal Moore's wages have increased since the start of the pandemic. Kristal makes her living driving around Hendersonville, N.C. as an Instacart shopper and an UberEats driver.

Although these gigs were profitable during the summer, the increasing price of gas started to eat away at her income. Now, Kristal says it feels like it's cheaper for her to just stay at home.

Today on the show, are people's raises actually real, or is it just a "money illusion?" Economist Michelle Holder reveals how the economy has managed to pull off a disappearing act with people's wages.

Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Newsletter.

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, PocketCasts and NPR One.