Economic News Release

Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers News Release


Technical information:  (202) 691-6378   USDL 09-0390
               http://www.bls.gov/cps/
                                         For release:  10:00 A.M. (EDT)
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902   Thursday, April 16, 2009


           USUAL WEEKLY EARNINGS OF WAGE AND SALARY WORKERS:
                             FIRST QUARTER 2009

   Median weekly earnings of the nation's 100.4 million full-time wage
and salary workers were $738 in the first quarter of 2009, the Bureau
of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.
This was 2.6 percent higher than a year earlier.  The Consumer Price
Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged 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.)  Highlights
from the first-quarter data are:

   --Women who usually worked full time had median earnings of $649
     per week, or 78.9 percent of the $823 median for men.  The fe-
     male-to-male earnings ratios were higher among blacks (93.9 per-
     cent) and Hispanics (88.4 percent) than among whites (77.9 per-
     cent) or Asians (81.3 percent).  (See table 1.)

   --Median earnings for black men working at full-time jobs were $595
     per week, 69.6 percent of the median for white men ($855).  The
     difference was less among women, as black women's median earnings
     ($559) were 83.9 percent of those for their white counterparts
     ($666).  Overall, median earnings of Hispanics who worked full
     time ($545) were lower than those of blacks ($577), whites ($758),
     and Asians ($869).  (See table 1.)

   --Among men, those age 45 to 54 and age 55 to 64 had the highest
     median weekly earnings, $994 and $962, respectively.  Among women,
     weekly earnings also were highest for those age 45 to 54 and age
     55 to 64, $705 and $728, respectively.  (See table 2.)

   --Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in
     management, professional, and related occupations had the highest
     median weekly earnings--$1,258 for men and $907 for women.  Per-
     sons employed in service jobs earned the least.  (See table 3.)

   --Full-time workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma
     had median weekly earnings of $450, compared with $620 for high
     school graduates (no college) and $1,138 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 $3,224 or more per week,
     compared with $2,092 or more for their female counterparts.  (See
     table 4.)







                                   - 2 -


Technical Note


   The estimates in this release were obtained from the Current Pop-
ulation Survey (CPS), which provides the basic information on the
labor force, employment, and unemployment.  The survey is conducted
monthly for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau
from a scientifically selected national sample of about 60,000 house-
holds, 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 wages and salaries.  The data, therefore,
exclude self-employment income.

   Information in this release will be made available to sensory
impaired individuals upon request.  Voice phone:  (202) 691-5200;
TDD message referral phone:  1-800-877-8339.

Reliability

   Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and non-
sampling 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 standard 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 population, 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.

   For a full discussion of the reliability of data from the CPS and
information on estimating standard errors, see the Household Data
section of the "Explanatory Notes and Estimates of Error" available on
the BLS Web site at http://www.bls.gov/cps/eetech_methods.pdf.

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 equivalent.  The term "usual" is as perceived by the respondent.
If the respondent asks for a definition of usual, interviewers are in-
structed to define the term as more than half the weeks worked during
the past 4 or 5 months.


                                   - 3 -


   Medians (and other quantiles) of weekly earnings.  The median (or
upper limit of the second quartile) is the amount which 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 estimating procedure places each reported or calculated weekly
earnings value into $50-wide intervals which 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 re-
lative 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 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,
$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, com-
missions, tips, payment in kind, or piece rates.  The group includes em-
ployees 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) dollars.

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







     Table 1.  Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by selected characteristics, quarterly averages, not
     seasonally adjusted
                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                              
                                                                          Number of workers                 Median weekly earnings            
                                                                            (in thousands)                                                    
                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                              
                              Characteristic                                                      In current dollars      In constant (1982)  
                                                                                                                               dollars        
                                                                             I           I                                                    
                                                                           2008        2009                                                   
                                                                                                     I           I           I           I    
                                                                                                    2008        2009        2008        2009  
                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                              
                                SEX AND AGE                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                              
       Total, 16 years and over.......................................   106,507     100,370        $719        $738        $327        $336  
                                                                                                                                              
         Men, 16 years and over.......................................    59,324      55,231         790         823         360         375  
           16 to 24 years.............................................     5,888       5,009         466         461         212         210  
           25 years and over..........................................    53,436      50,222         848         879         386         400  
                                                                                                                                              
         Women, 16 years and over.....................................    47,182      45,139         637         649         290         295  
           16 to 24 years.............................................     4,531       4,010         419         448         191         204  
           25 years and over..........................................    42,652      41,128         666         679         303         309  
                                                                                                                                              
                RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                              
         White........................................................    85,721      81,201         742         758         338         345  
           Men........................................................    48,810      45,882         822         855         374         389  
           Women......................................................    36,911      35,319         652         666         297         303  
                                                                                                                                              
         Black or African American....................................    12,922      12,023         582         577         265         263  
           Men........................................................     6,101       5,448         604         595         275         271  
           Women......................................................     6,821       6,575         556         559         253         254  
                                                                                                                                              
         Asian........................................................     5,297       4,828         842         869         383         396  
           Men........................................................     2,981       2,662         939         951         427         433  
           Women......................................................     2,316       2,166         754         773         343         352  
                                                                                                                                              
         Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.................................    15,588      14,497         520         545         237         248  
           Men........................................................     9,819       9,125         538         577         245         263  
           Women......................................................     5,769       5,372         501         510         228         232  
         
        NOTE:  Estimates for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not
     presented for all races.  Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.  Updated population controls
     are introduced annually with the release of January data.
     
     
     
     
     
     


     Table 2.  Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by age, race, Hispanic or Latino ethnicity,
     and sex, first quarter 2009 averages, not seasonally adjusted
                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                               
                                                                           Total                Men                Women       
                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                               
              Age, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity           Number of          Number of            Number of          
                                                                     workers   Median   workers    Median    workers    Median 
                                                                       (in     weekly     (in      weekly      (in      weekly 
                                                                   thousands) earnings thousands) earnings thousands)  earnings
                                                                                                                               
                                 TOTAL                                                                                         
                                                                                                                               
       16 years and over...........................................  100,370      $738    55,231      $823    45,139      $649 
         16 to 24 years............................................    9,020       456     5,009       461     4,010       448 
           16 to 19 years..........................................      978       364       612       370       366       350 
           20 to 24 years..........................................    8,042       472     4,398       476     3,644       464 
         25 years and over.........................................   91,350       772    50,222       879    41,128       679 
           25 to 54 years..........................................   74,082       767    40,981       865    33,101       672 
             25 to 34 years........................................   23,802       674    13,369       716    10,433       619 
             35 to 44 years........................................   24,733       803    13,824       914    10,910       696 
             45 to 54 years........................................   25,547       851    13,789       994    11,758       705 
           55 years and over.......................................   17,268       807     9,241       942     8,027       707 
             55 to 64 years........................................   14,669       835     7,815       962     6,854       728 
             65 years and over.....................................    2,599       683     1,426       787     1,173       593 
                                                                                                                               
                                 White                                                                                         
       16 years and over...........................................   81,201       758    45,882       855    35,319       666 
         16 to 24 years............................................    7,328       460     4,184       455     3,144       467 
         25 years and over.........................................   73,873       801    41,698       912    32,175       697 
           25 to 54 years..........................................   59,353       793    33,762       898    25,591       690 
           55 years and over.......................................   14,520       836     7,937       961     6,584       721 
                                                                                                                               
                       Black or African American                                                                               
       16 years and over...........................................   12,023       577     5,448       595     6,575       559 
         16 to 24 years............................................    1,125       411       537       457       588       388 
         25 years and over.........................................   10,897       596     4,911       616     5,986       581 
           25 to 54 years..........................................    9,136       587     4,104       597     5,031       579 
           55 years and over.......................................    1,762       663       807       760       955       591 
                                                                                                                               
                                 Asian                                                                                         
       16 years and over...........................................    4,828       869     2,662       951     2,166       773 
         16 to 24 years............................................      275       505       138       511       138       493 
         25 years and over.........................................    4,553       891     2,524       968     2,028       817 
           25 to 54 years..........................................    3,861       918     2,182       989     1,679       828 
           55 years and over.......................................      692       729       342       711       350       745 
                                                                                                                               
                      Hispanic or Latino ethnicity                                                                             
       16 years and over...........................................   14,497       545     9,125       577     5,372       510 
         16 to 24 years............................................    1,626       404     1,055       401       571       412 
         25 years and over.........................................   12,871       578     8,071       605     4,801       522 
           25 to 54 years..........................................   11,277       580     7,081       608     4,196       520 
           55 years and over.......................................    1,595       553       990       556       605       548 
     
        NOTE:  Estimates for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because
     data are not presented for all races.  Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.
     Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.
     
     
     
     
     
     


     Table 3.  Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by occupation and sex, quarterly averages, not
     seasonally adjusted
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                 Number of workers         Median weekly earnings  
                                                                                   (in thousands)                                  
                               Occupation and sex                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                   I             I             I             I     
                                                                                 2008          2009          2008          2009    
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                     TOTAL                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                   
       Management, professional, and related occupations...................     39,815        39,353        $1,018        $1,046   
         Management, business, and financial operations occupations........     16,313        16,373         1,127         1,146   
         Professional and related occupations..............................     23,502        22,981           967           990   
       Service occupations.................................................     14,227        13,967           464           457   
       Sales and office occupations........................................     25,574        23,566           614           622   
         Sales and related occupations.....................................     10,320         9,386           650           666   
         Office and administrative support occupations.....................     15,253        14,180           601           611   
       Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations........     11,633        10,329           699           730   
         Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations........................        688           623           400           411   
         Construction and extraction occupations...........................      6,374         5,293           676           720   
         Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.................      4,571         4,413           772           790   
       Production, transportation, and material moving occupations.........     15,259        13,154           595           597   
         Production occupations............................................      8,369         6,817           594           590   
         Transportation and material moving occupations....................      6,890         6,338           596           603   
                                                                                                                                   
                                      Men                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                   
       Management, professional, and related occupations...................     19,388        19,073         1,236         1,258   
         Management, business, and financial operations occupations........      8,810         8,884         1,341         1,358   
         Professional and related occupations..............................     10,578        10,189         1,170         1,183   
       Service occupations.................................................      7,141         6,737           529           516   
       Sales and office occupations........................................      9,651         8,926           737           748   
         Sales and related occupations.....................................      5,645         5,173           788           834   
         Office and administrative support occupations.....................      4,006         3,753           651           664   
       Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations........     11,138         9,930           701           736   
         Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations........................        560           499           407           413   
         Construction and extraction occupations...........................      6,209         5,186           675           720   
         Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.................      4,369         4,245           772           791   
       Production, transportation, and material moving occupations.........     12,007        10,566           632           643   
         Production occupations............................................      5,908         5,026           660           657   
         Transportation and material moving occupations....................      6,099         5,540           612           625   
                                                                                                                                   
                                     Women                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                   
       Management, professional, and related occupations...................     20,427        20,281           890           907   
         Management, business, and financial operations occupations........      7,503         7,489           954           952   
         Professional and related occupations..............................     12,924        12,792           859           879   
       Service occupations.................................................      7,086         7,230           408           411   
       Sales and office occupations........................................     15,923        14,640           578           587   
         Sales and related occupations.....................................      4,675         4,213           508           513   
         Office and administrative support occupations.....................     11,248        10,427           591           601   
       Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations........        495           399           609           566   
         Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations........................        128           124           363           404   
         Construction and extraction occupations...........................        165           107           740           696   
         Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.................        202           168           774           743   
       Production, transportation, and material moving occupations.........      3,252         2,588           469           452   
         Production occupations............................................      2,461         1,790           462           450   
         Transportation and material moving occupations....................        791           798           486           456   
     
        NOTE:  Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.
     
     
     
     
     
     


     Table 4.  Quartiles and selected deciles of usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by selected
     characteristics, first quarter 2009 averages, not seasonally adjusted
                                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                  
                                                                       Number of                  Upper limit of:                 
                                                                        workers                                                   
                              Characteristic                              (in                                                     
                                                                      thousands)    First     First    Second    Third      Ninth 
                                                                                   decile   quartile  quartile  quartile   decile 
                                                                                                      (median)                    
                                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                  
                SEX, RACE, AND HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY                                                                       
                                                                                                                                  
       Total, 16 years and over.......................................  100,370      $349      $489      $738    $1,151    $1,748 
         Men..........................................................   55,231       377       524       823     1,305     1,919 
         Women........................................................   45,139       326       446       649       974     1,422 
                                                                                                                                  
         White........................................................   81,201       359       503       758     1,175     1,793 
           Men........................................................   45,882       383       552       855     1,341     1,988 
           Women......................................................   35,319       332       463       666       995     1,449 
                                                                                                                                  
         Black or African American....................................   12,023       311       406       577       871     1,270 
           Men........................................................    5,448       312       421       595       917     1,403 
           Women......................................................    6,575       310       395       559       831     1,192 
                                                                                                                                  
         Asian........................................................    4,828       362       535       869     1,378     1,923 
           Men........................................................    2,662       391       608       951     1,548     2,223 
           Women......................................................    2,166       330       494       773     1,155     1,671 
                                                                                                                                  
         Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.................................   14,497       293       381       545       813     1,233 
           Men........................................................    9,125       305       394       577       874     1,328 
           Women......................................................    5,372       278       356       510       738     1,080 
                                                                                                                                  
                          EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                  
       Total, 25 years and over.......................................   91,350       370       514       772     1,195     1,811 
         Less than a high school diploma..............................    7,224       272       337       450       612       901 
         High school graduates, no college (1)........................   25,722       337       442       620       888     1,229 
         Some college or associate degree.............................   25,348       378       512       726     1,040     1,445 
         Bachelor's degree and higher (2).............................   33,057       547       768     1,138     1,677     2,393 
           Bachelor's degree only.....................................   21,399       509       724     1,024     1,548     2,214 
           Advanced degree............................................   11,657       664       912     1,326     1,899     2,831 
                                                                                                                                  
         Men, 25 years and over.......................................   50,222       397       579       879     1,368     1,998 
           Less than a high school diploma............................    4,846       287       365       493       681       980 
           High school graduates, no college (1)......................   14,778       377       500       712     1,009     1,373 
           Some college or associate degree...........................   13,139       421       594       844     1,196     1,628 
           Bachelor's degree and higher (2)...........................   17,459       614       890     1,353     1,912     2,881 
             Bachelor's degree only...................................   11,232       582       823     1,239     1,798     2,498 
             Advanced degree..........................................    6,227       743     1,024     1,537     2,212     3,224 
                                                                                                                                  
         Women, 25 years and over.....................................   41,128       341       471       679     1,009     1,463 
           Less than a high school diploma............................    2,377       236       303       388       515       644 
           High school graduates, no college (1)......................   10,944       308       395       527       721       962 
           Some college or associate degree...........................   12,209       344       466       627       876     1,183 
           Bachelor's degree and higher (2)...........................   15,598       497       695       962     1,366     1,885 
             Bachelor's degree only...................................   10,168       468       633       885     1,251     1,753 
             Advanced degree..........................................    5,430       599       828     1,140     1,541     2,092 
     
        1 Includes persons with a high school diploma or equivalent.
        2 Includes persons with bachelor's, master's, professional, and doctoral degrees.
        NOTE:  Ten percent of all full-time wage and salary workers earn less than the upper limit of the first decile; 25 per-
     cent earn less than the upper limit of the first quartile; 50 percent earn less than the upper limit of the second quartile,
     or median; 75 percent earn less than the upper limit of the third quartile; and 90 percent earn less than the upper limit of
     the ninth decile.  Estimates for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals
     because data are not presented for all races.  Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any
     race.  Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.
     
     
     
     
     
      


     Table 5.  Median usual weekly earnings of part-time wage and salary workers by selected characteristics, quarterly averages, not
     seasonally adjusted
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                  Number of workers           Median weekly earnings   
                                                                                    (in thousands)                                     
                                 Characteristic                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                   I              I               I              I     
                                                                                  2008           2009            2008           2009   
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                       
                                  SEX AND AGE                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                       
       Total, 16 years and over............................................      22,195         24,180           $216           $222   
                                                                                                                                       
         Men, 16 years and over............................................       6,975          8,007            207            218   
           16 to 24 years..................................................       3,375          3,429            161            165   
           25 years and over...............................................       3,600          4,578            272            272   
                                                                                                                                       
         Women, 16 years and over..........................................      15,220         16,173            221            225   
           16 to 24 years..................................................       4,412          4,671            156            156   
           25 years and over...............................................      10,808         11,502            258            269   
                                                                                                                                       
                  RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX                                                                          
                                                                                                                                       
           White...........................................................      18,638         20,264            218            223   
               Men.........................................................       5,800          6,532            208            217   
               Women.......................................................      12,838         13,732            223            226   
                                                                                                                                       
           Black or African American.......................................       2,111          2,342            207            221   
               Men.........................................................         710            858            209            219   
               Women.......................................................       1,401          1,484            206            222   
                                                                                                                                       
           Asian...........................................................         879            954            220            234   
               Men.........................................................         283            365            211            255   
               Women.......................................................         596            589            225            221   
                                                                                                                                       
           Hispanic or Latino ethnicity....................................       2,647          3,296            212            224   
               Men.........................................................         995          1,189            222            244   
               Women.......................................................       1,652          2,108            206            212   
     
        NOTE:  Estimates for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are
     not presented for all races.  Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.  Updated population
     controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.
     
     
     
     
     
     

Last Modified Date: April 16, 2009
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