In 1973, median earnings for men who worked full-time, year-round were $51,670 in inflation-adjusted 2012 dollars. The median earnings of men who work full-time year-round have never been that high again.
In 2012, the latest year for which the Census Bureau has published an estimate, the real median earnings of men who worked full-time, year-round was $49,398. That was $2,272—or about 4.4 percent—below the peak median earnings of $51,670 in 1973.
It’s worth noting that America went off the international gold standard in August of 1971, which is about the time earnings begin to stagnate. Remember, this is compared against official CPI numbers. If real inflation metrics are used, that means the median worker today is earning far less than what a worker in 1971 earned.