Economic News Release

Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Friday, January 18, 2013            USDL-13-0060

Technical information: (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:         (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


               USUAL WEEKLY EARNINGS OF WAGE AND SALARY WORKERS
	       		     FOURTH QUARTER 2012


Median weekly earnings of the nation's 103.8 million full-time wage and 
salary workers were $775 in the fourth quarter of 2012 (not seasonally 
adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was 
1.4 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.9 percent 
in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the same 
period.

Data on usual weekly earnings are collected as part of the Current
Population Survey, a nationwide sample survey of households in which
respondents are asked, among other things, how much each wage and
salary worker usually earns. (See the Technical Note.) Data shown in
this release are not seasonally adjusted unless otherwise specified.
Highlights from the fourth-quarter data are:

   --Seasonally adjusted median weekly earnings were $772 in the fourth
     quarter of 2012, little changed from the previous quarter ($765).
     (See table 1.)

   --On a not seasonally adjusted basis, median weekly earnings were
     $775 in the fourth quarter of 2012. Women who usually worked full
     time had median weekly earnings of $692, or 79.1 percent of the
     $875 median for men. (See table 2.)

   --The female-to-male earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity.
     White women earned 79.6 percent as much as their male counterparts,
     compared with black (87.4 percent), Hispanic (86.6 percent), and
     Asian women (71.6 percent). (See table 2.)

   --Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median weekly earnings
     for black men working at full-time jobs were $680 per week, or 
     76.0 percent of the median for white men ($895). The difference 
     was less among women, as black women's median earnings ($594) were
     83.4 percent of those for white women ($712). Overall, median 
     earnings of Hispanics who worked full time ($571) were lower than
     those of blacks ($615), whites ($802), and Asians ($910). 
     (See table 2.)

   --Usual weekly earnings of full-time workers varied by age and were
     highest for persons age 35 to 64. Weekly earnings were $985 for men
     age 35 to 44, little different from the medians for men age 45 to 54
     ($997) and men age 55 to 64 ($1,035). Among women, those age 35 to 
     44 had median weekly earnings of $742, about the same as the weekly
     earnings for women age 45 to 54 ($747) and women age 55 to 64 ($759).
     Workers age 16 to 24 had the lowest median weekly earnings, at $459.
     (See table 3.)

   --Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in
     management, professional, and related occupations had the highest
     median weekly earnings--$1,340 for men and $953 for women. Men and
     women employed in service jobs earned the least, $550 and $420,
     respectively. (See table 4.)

   --By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without
     a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $478, compared
     with $647 for high school graduates (no college) and $1,168 for those
     holding at least a bachelor's degree. Among college graduates with
     advanced degrees (professional or master's degree and above), the
     highest earning 10 percent of male workers made $3,474 or more per
     week, compared with $2,343 or more for their female counterparts.
     (See table 5.)

Annual Averages for 2011 and 2012

In addition to the data for the fourth quarter, this release includes 2011 
and 2012 annual averages of median weekly earnings for major demographic and 
occupational groups, and 2012 annual average data for educational attainment 
groups. (See tables 7, 8, and 9.) Annual average data on median usual weekly 
earnings for men and women by detailed occupational categories will be posted
online at www.bls.gov/cps/tables.htm when they become available.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------
   |                                                                  |
   |    Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Usual Weekly Earnings Data    |
   |                                                                  |
   | Seasonally adjusted median usual weekly earnings data shown in   |
   | table 1 of this release have been revised using updated seasonal |
   | adjustment factors from the Current Population Survey, a         |
   | procedure done at the end of each calendar year. The revisions   |
   | directly affected the number of full-time wage and salary        |
   | workers and current dollar estimates of median weekly earnings;  |
   | estimates of constant (1982-84) dollar median weekly earnings    |
   | were indirectly affected. Seasonally adjusted estimates back to  |
   | the first quarter of 2008 were subject to revision.              |
   |                                                                  |
   | The Usual Weekly Earnings news release for the first quarter of  |
   | 2013, scheduled for release on April 18, 2013, will incorporate  |
   | revisions to the seasonally adjusted data for the median weekly  |
   | earnings in constant (1982-84) dollars. Seasonally adjusted      |
   | constant (1982-84) dollar estimates back to the first quarter of |
   | 2008 will be subject to revision due to annual revisions to      |
   | seasonally adjusted data for the Consumer Price Index for All    |
   | Urban Consumers (CPI-U).                                         |
   |                                                                  |
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    
    

Technical Note


   The estimates in this release were obtained from the Current Population
Survey (CPS), which provides basic information on the labor force, employment,
and unemployment. The survey is conducted monthly for the Bureau of Labor
Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau using a scientifically selected national
sample of about 60,000 eligible households, with coverage in all 50 states
and the District of Columbia. The earnings data are collected from one-quarter
of the CPS monthly sample and are limited to wage and salary workers (both
incorporated and unincorporated self-employed are excluded). The data, there-
fore, exclude self-employment income.

   Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired
individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay
Service: (800) 877-8339.

Reliability

   Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and nonsampling
error. When a sample rather than the entire population is surveyed, there is a
chance that the sample estimates may differ from the "true" population values
they represent. The exact difference, or sampling error, varies depending on
the particular sample selected, and this variability is measured by the stan-
dard error of the estimate. There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of
confidence, that an estimate based on a sample will differ by no more than
1.6 standard errors from the "true" population value because of sampling error.
BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-percent level of confidence.

   The CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error. Nonsampling errors can
occur for many reasons, including the failure to sample a segment of the popu-
lation, inability to obtain information for all respondents in the sample,
inability or unwillingness of respondents to provide correct information on a
timely basis, mistakes made by respondents, and errors made in the collection
or processing of the data.

   A full discussion of the reliability of data from the Current Population
Survey and information on estimating standard errors is available on the BLS
website www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#reliability.

Definitions

   The principal definitions used in connection with the earnings series are
described briefly below.

   Usual weekly earnings. Data represent earnings before taxes and other deductions
and include any overtime pay, commissions, or tips usually received (at the main
job in the case of multiple jobholders). Prior to 1994, respondents were asked how
much they usually earned per week. Since January 1994, respondents have been asked
to identify the easiest way for them to report earnings (hourly, weekly, biweekly,
twice monthly, monthly, annually, other) and how much they usually earn in the
reported time period.

   Earnings reported on a basis other than weekly are converted to a weekly equi-
valent. The term "usual" is as perceived by the respondent. If the respondent asks
for a definition of "usual", interviewers are instructed to define the term as more
than half the weeks worked during the past 4 or 5 months.

   Medians (and other quantiles) of weekly earnings. The median (or upper limit of
the second quartile) is the amount that divides a given earnings distribution into
two equal groups, one having earnings above the median and the other having earnings
below the median. Ten percent of a given distribution have earnings below the upper
limit of the first decile (90 percent have higher earnings); 25 percent have earnings
below the upper limit of the first quartile (75 percent have higher earnings); 75
percent have earnings below the upper limit of the third quartile (25 percent have
higher earnings); and 90 percent have earnings below the upper limit of the ninth
decile (10 percent have higher earnings).

   The estimation procedure places each reported or calculated weekly earnings value
into $50-wide intervals that are centered around multiples of $50. The actual value
is estimated through the linear interpolation of the interval in which the quantile
boundary lies.

   Over-the-year changes in the medians (and other quantile boundaries) for specific
groups may not necessarily be consistent with the movements estimated for the overall
quantile boundary. The most common reasons for this possible anomaly are: (1) There
could be a change in the relative weights of the subgroups. For example, the medians
of both 16- to 24-year-olds and those 25 years and over may rise; but if the lower-
earning 16- to 24-year-olds group accounts for a greatly increased share of the total,
the overall median could actually fall. (2) There could be a large change in the shape 
of the distribution of reported earnings, particularly near a quantile boundary. This
could be caused by survey observations that are clustered at rounded values, such as
$250, $300, or $400. An estimate lying in a $50-wide centered interval containing
such a cluster or "spike" tends to change more slowly than one in other intervals.

   Wage and salary workers. Workers who receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips,
payment in kind, or piece rates. The group includes employees in both the private
and public sectors but, for the purposes of the earnings series, excludes all self-
employed persons, regardless of whether or not their businesses are incorporated.

   Full-time workers. Workers who usually work 35 hours or more per week at their
sole or principal job.

   Part-time workers. Workers who usually work fewer than 35 hours per week at their
sole or principal job.

   Constant dollars. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) is used
to convert current dollars to constant (1982-84) dollars.

   Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. Refers to persons who identified themselves in the
enumeration process as being of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. Persons whose 
ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

Seasonal adjustment

   Over the course of a year, the size of the nation's labor force and  other measures
of labor market activity undergo regularly occurring fluctuations. These recurring
events include seasonal changes in weather, major holidays, and the opening and closing
of schools. The effect of such seasonal variations can be very large.

   Because seasonal events follow a more or less regular pattern each year, their
influence on the level of a series can be tempered by adjusting for regular seasonal
variation. These adjustments make nonseasonal developments easier to spot. The season-
ally adjusted figures provide a more useful tool with which to analyze changes in
quarter-to-quarter activity.

   At the end of each calendar year, the seasonally adjusted data are revised for the
past 5 years when the seasonal adjustment factors are updated. More information on sea-
sonal adjustment is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#sa.




Table 1. Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by sex, quarterly averages, seasonally adjusted
Year and quarter Number of workers
(in thousands)
Median weekly earnings
Total Men Women In current dollars In constant (1982-84) dollars
Total
$
Men
$
Women
$
Total
$
Men
$
Women
$

2003

4th Quarter

100,628 56,607 44,021 623 702 560 337 379 302

2004

1st Quarter

100,905 56,848 44,057 629 705 562 337 378 301

2nd Quarter

101,135 56,914 44,221 642 715 576 341 380 306

3rd Quarter

101,148 56,931 44,217 635 712 574 335 376 303

4th Quarter

101,658 57,289 44,369 646 720 577 337 376 302

2005

1st Quarter

102,091 57,710 44,381 647 723 580 336 376 302

2nd Quarter

103,201 58,099 45,101 647 714 584 334 369 301

3rd Quarter

104,310 58,843 45,467 651 723 588 331 368 299

4th Quarter

104,605 58,967 45,638 658 730 588 332 368 296

2006

1st Quarter

104,708 58,960 45,748 662 737 594 332 370 298

2nd Quarter

105,798 59,831 45,966 663 732 597 329 364 296

3rd Quarter

107,041 60,060 46,981 678 755 603 334 372 297

4th Quarter

106,847 60,140 46,707 681 748 607 337 370 300

2007

1st Quarter

107,176 60,105 47,070 687 752 610 336 368 298

2nd Quarter

106,827 60,351 46,476 693 765 610 335 370 295

3rd Quarter

107,156 60,216 46,940 698 774 621 336 372 298

4th Quarter

108,178 60,508 47,670 700 774 615 332 368 292

2008

1st Quarter

107,786 60,378 47,408 713 783 633 335 368 298

2nd Quarter

107,046 59,586 47,460 722 802 636 335 372 295

3rd Quarter

106,136 59,273 46,863 724 802 637 331 366 291

4th Quarter

105,617 58,511 47,106 727 806 647 340 377 302

2009

1st Quarter

101,680 56,299 45,381 732 815 645 344 384 304

2nd Quarter

99,990 55,233 44,757 736 818 652 345 383 306

3rd Quarter

99,049 54,481 44,567 742 820 664 345 381 308

4th Quarter

98,569 54,412 44,156 747 823 666 344 379 307

2010

1st Quarter

98,149 54,102 44,048 748 836 662 344 385 304

2nd Quarter

99,598 55,038 44,559 742 813 671 342 374 309

3rd Quarter

100,410 55,618 44,792 746 822 670 342 377 307

4th Quarter

99,960 55,469 44,491 750 826 676 342 376 308

2011

1st Quarter

99,690 55,338 44,353 750 821 679 338 370 306

2nd Quarter

100,343 55,848 44,495 754 828 688 336 369 307

3rd Quarter

100,487 56,053 44,434 759 837 681 335 370 301

4th Quarter

101,316 56,643 44,674 761 838 686 335 369 302

2012

1st Quarter

102,194 57,113 45,081 764 842 693 335 369 303

2nd Quarter

102,491 57,102 45,389 772 867 688 337 379 301

3rd Quarter

102,637 57,236 45,401 765 838 693 332 364 301

4th Quarter

103,681 57,701 45,980 772 868 690 334 376 298

NOTE: Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.