19-Inch TV: 71.3 Hours in 1981 vs. 9.2 Hours Today
Cost of a Sears 19-inch portable TV in 1981: $529.88, or 71.3 hours of work (9 days) at the average hourly wage of $7.42 (total private industries).
Cost of a Sears 20-inch TV in 2009: $169 or 9.2 hours of work at today's average hourly wage of $18.36.
Bottom Line: If we paid the same price today as in 1981 (71.3 hours, at the average hourly wage of $18.36), the 2009 Sears TV above would cost us more than $1,300. Or equivalently, consumers in 1981 actually paid the equivalent of $1,300 in today's dollars for a 19-inch TV. Or we could say that the typical consumer today would earn enough money in about one day (9.2 hours) to earn enough money to purchase a brand new 19-inch TV, whereas the typical consumer in 1981 had to work full-time for almost two weeks to earn enough money to purchase an equivalent TV then.