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Inflation Fields Weak Team, Wins Anyway Though inflation has been relatively low, it has outpaced the growth of construction wages over the last three years. Since 1986, weekly wages for skilled construction trades have risen a total of 8.9% (3% in 1987, 1.5% in 1988, and 4.2% in 1989 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). This compares to an inflation rate of 13% over the same period (3.7%, 4.1%, and 4.7%). In other words, the average construction paycheck has lost about 4% in buying power since 1986. But there's good news for carpenters. Their wages have grown 13.8% since 1986 (4.9%, 4.4%, and 3.9%), just .8% above the overall 13% rise in the cost of living. ? A Silver Lining in California's Drought While California's