Economic News Release

Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers News Release


Technical information:(202) 691-6378    USDL 08-0507
             http://www.bls.gov/cps/
                                        For release:  10:00 A.M. (EDT)
Media contact:        (202) 691-5902    Thursday, April 17, 2008


             USUAL WEEKLY EARNINGS OF WAGE AND SALARY WORKERS:
                            FIRST QUARTER 2008

   Median weekly earnings of the nation's 106.5 million full-time wage and
salary workers were $719 in the first quarter of 2008, the Bureau of Labor
Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.  This was 3.8 per-
cent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 4.1 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 Popula-
tion 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 $637 per
      week, or 80.6 percent of the $790 median for men.  The female-to-
      male earnings ratios were higher among Hispanics (93.1 percent)
      and blacks (92.1 percent) than among whites (79.3 percent) or
      Asians (80.3 percent).  (See table 1.)

    --Median earnings for black men working at full-time jobs were $604
      per week, 73.5 percent of the median for white men ($822).  The dif-
      ference was less among women, as black women's median earnings ($556)
      were 85.3 percent of those for their white counterparts ($652).  Over-
      all, median earnings of Hispanics who worked full time ($520) were
      lower than those of blacks ($582), whites ($742), and Asians ($842).
      (See table 1.)

    --Among men, those age 45 to 54 and age 55 to 64 had the highest median
       weekly earnings, $927 and $957, respectively.  Among women, weekly
       earnings also were highest for those age 45 to 54 and age 55 to 64,
       $700 and $702, respectively.  (See table 2.)

     --Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in
       managerial, professional, and related occupations had the highest
       median weekly earnings--$1,236 for men and $890 for women.  Men and
       women 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 $435, compared with $615 for high school
       graduates (no college) and $1,108 for those holding at least a bachelor's
       degree.  Among college graduates with advanced degrees (professional or
       master's degree and above), the highest 10 percent of male workers made
       $3,080 or more per week, compared with $1,988 or more for their female
       counterparts.  (See table 4.)







                                  - 2 -


Technical Note

   The estimates in this release were obtained from the Current Population
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 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 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 number:  1-800-877-8339.

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 de-
pending 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 error
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, and
errors made in the collection or processing of the data.

   For a full discussion of the reliability of data from the CPS and informa-
tion on estimating standard errors, see the Household Data section of the
"Explanatory Notes and Estimates of Error" 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 instructed 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 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 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, 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 busi-
nesses 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                                                     
                                                                           2007        2008                                                   
                                                                                                    I           I           I           I     
                                                                                                   2007        2008        2007        2008   
                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                              
                                SEX AND AGE                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                              
       Total, 16 years and over.......................................   105,888     106,507        $693        $719        $328       $327   
                                                                                                                                              
         Men, 16 years and over.......................................    59,052      59,324         759         790         359        360   
           16 to 24 years.............................................     6,102       5,888         451         466         214        212   
           25 years and over..........................................    52,951      53,436         811         848         384        386   
                                                                                                                                              
         Women, 16 years and over.....................................    46,836      47,182         615         637         291        290   
           16 to 24 years.............................................     4,632       4,531         414         419         196        191   
           25 years and over..........................................    42,203      42,652         646         666         306        303   
                                                                                                                                              
                RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                              
         White........................................................    85,359      85,721         714         742         338        338   
           Men........................................................    48,802      48,810         783         822         371        374   
           Women......................................................    36,557      36,911         625         652         296        297   
                                                                                                                                              
         Black or African American....................................    13,007      12,922         561         582         266        265   
           Men........................................................     6,135       6,101         585         604         277        275   
           Women......................................................     6,872       6,821         540         556         256        253   
                                                                                                                                              
         Asian........................................................     5,146       5,297         798         842         378        383   
           Men........................................................     2,845       2,981         864         939         409        427   
           Women......................................................     2,301       2,316         743         754         352        343   
                                                                                                                                              
         Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.................................    16,037      15,588         502         520         238        237   
           Men........................................................    10,092       9,819         520         538         246        245   
           Women......................................................     5,946       5,769         471         501         223        228   
     
        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 2008 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...........................................  106,507      $719    59,324      $790    47,182      $637 
         16 to 24 years............................................   10,419       445     5,888       466     4,531       419 
           16 to 19 years..........................................    1,381       343       832       370       548       316 
           20 to 24 years..........................................    9,038       469     5,056       483     3,982       443 
         25 years and over.........................................   96,088       757    53,436       848    42,652       666 
           25 to 54 years..........................................   78,799       751    44,142       834    34,657       664 
             25 to 34 years........................................   25,469       659    14,532       701    10,938       618 
             35 to 44 years........................................   26,559       805    15,086       915    11,474       688 
             45 to 54 years........................................   26,770       809    14,524       927    12,246       700 
           55 years and over.......................................   17,289       781     9,295       932     7,995       674 
             55 to 64 years........................................   14,746       819     7,898       957     6,848       702 
             65 years and over.....................................    2,543       643     1,396       751     1,146       530 
                                                                                                                               
                                 White                                                                                         
       16 years and over...........................................   85,721       742    48,810       822    36,911       652 
         16 to 24 years............................................    8,376       453     4,790       475     3,585       422 
         25 years and over.........................................   77,345       780    44,019       881    33,326       683 
           25 to 54 years..........................................   62,740       774    35,997       864    26,743       680 
           55 years and over.......................................   14,605       816     8,023       960     6,583       693 
                                                                                                                               
                       Black or African American                                                                               
       16 years and over...........................................   12,922       582     6,101       604     6,821       556 
         16 to 24 years............................................    1,277       390       665       402       612       380 
         25 years and over.........................................   11,645       602     5,436       632     6,209       581 
           25 to 54 years..........................................    9,941       599     4,694       621     5,247       581 
           55 years and over.......................................    1,704       639       742       726       962       584 
                                                                                                                               
                                 Asian                                                                                         
       16 years and over...........................................    5,297       842     2,981       939     2,316       754 
         16 to 24 years............................................      384       557       193       520       191       604 
         25 years and over.........................................    4,913       875     2,788       974     2,125       769 
           25 to 54 years..........................................    4,188       914     2,396     1,027     1,791       781 
           55 years and over.......................................      726       696       391       694       334       700 
                                                                                                                               
                      Hispanic or Latino ethnicity                                                                             
       16 years and over...........................................   15,588       520     9,819       538     5,769       501 
         16 to 24 years............................................    2,016       408     1,279       417       737       392 
         25 years and over.........................................   13,572       555     8,540       577     5,032       519 
           25 to 54 years..........................................   12,163       554     7,682       576     4,482       520 
           55 years and over.......................................    1,409       563       858       582       550       516 
     
        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      
                                                                                 2007          2008          2007          2008    
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                     TOTAL                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                   
       Management, professional, and related occupations...................     39,139        39,815          $976        $1,018   
         Management, business, and financial operations occupations........     16,389        16,313         1,042         1,127   
         Professional and related occupations..............................     22,750        23,502           936           967   
       Service occupations.................................................     14,050        14,227           451           464   
       Sales and office occupations........................................     25,748        25,574           597           614   
         Sales and related occupations.....................................     10,717        10,320           645           650   
         Office and administrative support occupations.....................     15,031        15,253           577           601   
       Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations........     12,180        11,633           672           699   
         Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations........................        657           688           341           400   
         Construction and extraction occupations...........................      7,164         6,374           659           676   
         Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.................      4,359         4,571           730           772   
       Production, transportation, and material moving occupations.........     14,772        15,259           563           595   
         Production occupations............................................      7,933         8,369           568           594   
         Transportation and material moving occupations....................      6,839         6,890           558           596   
                                                                                                                                   
                                      Men                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                   
       Management, professional, and related occupations...................     18,855        19,388         1,162         1,236   
         Management, business, and financial operations occupations........      8,829         8,810         1,244         1,341   
         Professional and related occupations..............................     10,026        10,578         1,135         1,170   
       Service occupations.................................................      7,054         7,141           516           529   
       Sales and office occupations........................................      9,946         9,651           715           737   
         Sales and related occupations.....................................      6,025         5,645           769           788   
         Office and administrative support occupations.....................      3,921         4,006           635           651   
       Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations........     11,741        11,138           677           701   
         Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations........................        548           560           340           407   
         Construction and extraction occupations...........................      7,028         6,209           662           675   
         Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.................      4,165         4,369           732           772   
       Production, transportation, and material moving occupations.........     11,457        12,007           606           632   
         Production occupations............................................      5,627         5,908           630           660   
         Transportation and material moving occupations....................      5,830         6,099           584           612   
                                                                                                                                   
                                     Women                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                   
       Management, professional, and related occupations...................     20,284        20,427           846           890   
         Management, business, and financial operations occupations........      7,561         7,503           872           954   
         Professional and related occupations..............................     12,724        12,924           832           859   
       Service occupations.................................................      6,996         7,086           395           408   
       Sales and office occupations........................................     15,802        15,923           539           578   
         Sales and related occupations.....................................      4,692         4,675           494           508   
         Office and administrative support occupations.....................     11,110        11,248           557           591   
       Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations........        439           495           512           609   
         Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations........................        109           128           346           363   
         Construction and extraction occupations...........................        136           165           497           740   
         Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.................        194           202           708           774   
       Production, transportation, and material moving occupations.........      3,315         3,252           431           469   
         Production occupations............................................      2,306         2,461           434           462   
         Transportation and material moving occupations....................      1,009           791           423           486   
     
        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 2008 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.......................................  106,507      $344      $481      $719    $1,112    $1,653 
         Men..........................................................   59,324       371       515       790     1,240     1,875 
         Women........................................................   47,182       321       436       637       955     1,386 
                                                                                                                                  
         White........................................................   85,721       354       494       742     1,138     1,694 
           Men........................................................   48,810       381       538       822     1,264     1,886 
           Women......................................................   36,911       328       449       652       965     1,402 
                                                                                                                                  
         Black or African American....................................   12,922       307       402       582       857     1,254 
           Men........................................................    6,101       319       419       604       896     1,328 
           Women......................................................    6,821       299       389       556       822     1,200 
                                                                                                                                  
         Asian........................................................    5,297       360       521       842     1,368     1,921 
           Men........................................................    2,981       390       550       939     1,523     2,173 
           Women......................................................    2,316       319       491       754     1,148     1,686 
                                                                                                                                  
         Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.................................   15,588       297       379       520       777     1,174 
           Men........................................................    9,819       307       389       538       814     1,273 
           Women......................................................    5,769       282       358       501       719     1,037 
                                                                                                                                  
                          EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                  
       Total, 25 years and over.......................................   96,088       366       507       757     1,156     1,734 
         Less than a high school diploma..............................    7,998       281       338       435       597       821 
         High school graduates, no college (1)........................   27,866       331       433       615       873     1,196 
         Some college or associate degree.............................   26,207       381       510       715     1,017     1,416 
         Bachelor's degree and higher (2).............................   34,017       558       761     1,108     1,617     2,297 
           Bachelor's degree only.....................................   22,033       516       714     1,012     1,495     2,081 
           Advanced degree............................................   11,984       642       890     1,259     1,865     2,659 
                                                                                                                                  
         Men, 25 years and over.......................................   53,436       392       567       848     1,302     1,903 
           Less than a high school diploma............................    5,520       293       366       479       637       898 
           High school graduates, no college (1)......................   15,986       375       497       701       988     1,336 
           Some college or associate degree...........................   13,843       422       588       819     1,162     1,563 
           Bachelor's degree and higher (2)...........................   18,087       609       874     1,274     1,883     2,698 
             Bachelor's degree only...................................   11,681       582       801     1,170     1,730     2,402 
             Advanced degree..........................................    6,406       732     1,000     1,493     2,116     3,080 
                                                                                                                                  
         Women, 25 years and over.....................................   42,652       338       464       666       989     1,438 
           Less than a high school diploma............................    2,478       250       303       375       496       633 
           High school graduates, no college (1)......................   11,880       302       388       518       713       963 
           Some college or associate degree...........................   12,364       351       459       624       876     1,163 
           Bachelor's degree and higher (2)...........................   15,930       509       682       950     1,340     1,838 
             Bachelor's degree only...................................   10,352       484       634       886     1,238     1,733 
             Advanced degree..........................................    5,578       603       807     1,081     1,487     1,988 
     
        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 percent
     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     
                                                                                  2007           2008            2007           2008   
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                       
                                  SEX AND AGE                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                       
       Total, 16 years and over............................................      22,369         22,195           $211           $216   
                                                                                                                                       
         Men, 16 years and over............................................       7,172          6,975            199            207   
           16 to 24 years..................................................       3,572          3,375            150            161   
           25 years and over...............................................       3,600          3,600            273            272   
                                                                                                                                       
         Women, 16 years and over..........................................      15,197         15,220            216            221   
           16 to 24 years..................................................       4,637          4,412            152            156   
           25 years and over...............................................      10,560         10,808            259            258   
                                                                                                                                       
                  RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX                                                                          
                                                                                                                                       
         White.............................................................      18,896         18,638            211            218   
           Men.............................................................       5,987          5,800            198            208   
           Women...........................................................      12,909         12,838            217            223   
                                                                                                                                       
         Black or African American.........................................       2,071          2,111            206            207   
           Men.............................................................         685            710            199            209   
           Women...........................................................       1,386          1,401            209            206   
                                                                                                                                       
         Asian.............................................................         815            879            237            220   
           Men.............................................................         281            283            233            211   
           Women...........................................................         534            596            240            225   
                                                                                                                                       
         Hispanic or Latino ethnicity......................................       2,581          2,647            203            212   
           Men.............................................................         954            995            221            222   
           Women...........................................................       1,627          1,652            195            206   
     
        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 17, 2008
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