Economic News Release

Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers News Release


Technical information:  (202) 691-6378     USDL 08-0976
               http://www.bls.gov/cps/
                                           For release:  10:00 A.M. (EDT)
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902     Thursday, July 17, 2008
                                   
                                   
           USUAL WEEKLY EARNINGS OF WAGE AND SALARY WORKERS:
                          SECOND QUARTER 2008
                                   
   Median weekly earnings of the nation's 107.1 million full-time wage and 
salary workers were $719 in the second quarter of 2008, the Bureau of Labor 
Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.  This was 4.2 per-
cent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 4.4 percent in the 
Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the same period.
   
   Data on usual earnings are collected as part of the Current Population Sur-
vey, 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 second-quarter data are:
     
   --Women who usually worked full time had median earnings of $634 per week, 
     or 79.3 percent of the $800 median for men.  The female-to-male earnings 
     ratios were higher among blacks (92.4 percent) and Hispanics (86.8 percent) 
     than among whites (78.4 percent) or Asians (76.0 percent).  (See table 1.)
     
   --Median earnings for black men working at full-time jobs were $615 per week, 
     74.4 percent of the median for white men ($827).  The difference was less 
     among women, as black women's median earnings ($568) were 87.7 percent of 
     those for their white counterparts ($648).  Overall, median earnings of 
     Hispanics who worked full time ($537) were lower than those of blacks ($591), 
     whites ($738), and Asians ($855).  (See table 1.)
     
   --Among men, those age 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 had the highest median weekly 
     earnings, $935 and $946, respectively.  Among women, weekly earnings were 
     highest for those age 55 to 64 ($716).  (See table 2.)
     
   --Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in managerial, 
     professional, and related occupations had the highest median weekly earnings--
     $1,243 for men and $884 for women.  Persons employed in service jobs earned 
     the least.  (See table 3.)
     
   --Full-time workers age 25 years and over without a high school diploma had med-
     ian weekly earnings of $449, compared with $620 for high school graduates (no 
     college) and $1,105 for those holding at least a bachelor's degree.  Among col-
     lege graduates with advanced degrees (professional or master's degree and above),
     the highest 10 percent of male workers made $3,235 or more per week, compared 
     with $2,070 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        
                                                                            II          II                                                    
                                                                           2007        2008                                                   
                                                                                                     II          II          II          II   
                                                                                                    2007        2008        2007        2008  
                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                              
                                SEX AND AGE                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                              
       Total, 16 years and over.......................................   106,879     107,119        $690        $719        $320        $320  
                                                                                                                                              
         Men, 16 years and over.......................................    60,507      59,759         763         800         355         356  
           16 to 24 years.............................................     6,537       6,169         436         469         203         209  
           25 years and over..........................................    53,970      53,589         819         862         381         384  
                                                                                                                                              
         Women, 16 years and over.....................................    46,372      47,360         607         634         282         282  
           16 to 24 years.............................................     4,633       4,692         404         415         188         185  
           25 years and over..........................................    41,739      42,668         635         668         295         297  
                                                                                                                                              
                RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                              
         White........................................................    86,393      86,389         713         738         331         329  
           Men........................................................    50,162      49,412         783         827         364         368  
           Women......................................................    36,232      36,977         620         648         288         289  
                                                                                                                                              
         Black or African American....................................    13,048      12,889         562         591         261         263  
           Men........................................................     6,190       6,105         597         615         278         274  
           Women......................................................     6,858       6,785         521         568         242         253  
                                                                                                                                              
         Asian........................................................     5,025       5,267         827         855         384         381  
           Men........................................................     2,766       2,804         942         975         438         434  
           Women......................................................     2,258       2,463         709         741         330         330  
                                                                                                                                              
         Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.................................    15,943      15,951         503         537         234         239  
           Men........................................................    10,249      10,059         523         569         243         253  
           Women......................................................     5,694       5,892         470         494         218         220  

        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, second 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...........................................  107,119      $719    59,759      $800    47,360      $634 
         16 to 24 years............................................   10,861       447     6,169       469     4,692       415 
           16 to 19 years..........................................    1,623       350       949       382       674       316 
           20 to 24 years..........................................    9,238       467     5,220       483     4,018       439 
         25 years and over.........................................   96,258       760    53,589       862    42,668       668 
           25 to 54 years..........................................   79,147       753    44,355       849    34,792       662 
             25 to 34 years........................................   26,019       666    14,872       701    11,146       626 
             35 to 44 years........................................   26,619       808    15,081       924    11,538       681 
             45 to 54 years........................................   26,509       817    14,402       935    12,107       694 
           55 years and over.......................................   17,111       800     9,234       919     7,877       700 
             55 to 64 years........................................   14,648       828     7,869       946     6,780       716 
             65 years and over.....................................    2,462       624     1,366       711     1,097       591 
                                                                                                                               
                                 White                                                                                         
       16 years and over...........................................   86,389       738    49,412       827    36,977       648 
         16 to 24 years............................................    8,880       457     5,127       476     3,753       423 
         25 years and over.........................................   77,509       782    44,284       887    33,225       684 
           25 to 54 years..........................................   63,061       773    36,311       873    26,750       677 
           55 years and over.......................................   14,448       825     7,974       951     6,474       710 
                                                                                                                               
                       Black or African American                                                                               
       16 years and over...........................................   12,889       591     6,105       615     6,785       568 
         16 to 24 years............................................    1,268       405       667       425       602       367 
         25 years and over.........................................   11,621       613     5,438       655     6,183       590 
           25 to 54 years..........................................   10,020       613     4,696       658     5,324       587 
           55 years and over.......................................    1,601       618       742       618       859       620 
                                                                                                                               
                                 Asian                                                                                         
       16 years and over...........................................    5,267       855     2,804       975     2,463       741 
         16 to 24 years............................................      292       465       137       508       156       420 
         25 years and over.........................................    4,974       889     2,668     1,008     2,307       763 
           25 to 54 years..........................................    4,204       915     2,310     1,020     1,894       774 
           55 years and over.......................................      771       753       358       857       413       728 
                                                                                                                               
                      Hispanic or Latino ethnicity                                                                             
       16 years and over...........................................   15,951       537    10,059       569     5,892       494 
         16 to 24 years............................................    2,161       421     1,387       428       774       410 
         25 years and over.........................................   13,790       574     8,672       599     5,118       511 
           25 to 54 years..........................................   12,347       574     7,793       600     4,554       506 
           55 years and over.......................................    1,443       580       879       591       565       559 

        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                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                  II            II            II            II     
                                                                                 2007          2008          2007          2008    
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                     TOTAL                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                   
       Management, professional, and related occupations...................     38,817        39,861          $997        $1,028   
         Management, business, and financial operations occupations........     15,591        15,947         1,115         1,135   
         Professional and related occupations..............................     23,226        23,914           945           978   
       Service occupations.................................................     14,811        14,700           459           475   
       Sales and office occupations........................................     25,536        25,792           595           610   
         Sales and related occupations.....................................     10,477        10,325           640           645   
         Office and administrative support occupations.....................     15,059        15,467           578           598   
       Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations........     12,565        11,815           658           691   
         Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations........................        762           800           382           409   
         Construction and extraction occupations...........................      7,322         6,551           634           677   
         Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.................      4,482         4,464           744           778   
       Production, transportation, and material moving occupations.........     15,149        14,951           578           600   
         Production occupations............................................      8,596         8,045           583           594   
         Transportation and material moving occupations....................      6,553         6,905           568           606   
                                                                                                                                   
                                      Men                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                   
       Management, professional, and related occupations...................     19,402        19,623         1,176         1,243   
         Management, business, and financial operations occupations........      8,763         8,816         1,237         1,356   
         Professional and related occupations..............................     10,639        10,807         1,142         1,169   
       Service occupations.................................................      7,526         7,255           521           539   
       Sales and office occupations........................................      9,632         9,820           722           730   
         Sales and related occupations.....................................      5,831         5,727           802           786   
         Office and administrative support occupations.....................      3,801         4,093           613           643   
       Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations........     12,141        11,317           661           693   
         Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations........................        612           638           394           414   
         Construction and extraction occupations...........................      7,192         6,407           635           676   
         Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.................      4,336         4,271           741           773   
       Production, transportation, and material moving occupations.........     11,806        11,745           619           648   
         Production occupations............................................      6,154         5,797           643           664   
         Transportation and material moving occupations....................      5,652         5,947           597           629   
                                                                                                                                   
                                     Women                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                   
       Management, professional, and related occupations...................     19,415        20,238           859           884   
         Management, business, and financial operations occupations........      6,827         7,131           952           922   
         Professional and related occupations..............................     12,587        13,108           823           868   
       Service occupations.................................................      7,285         7,445           404           416   
       Sales and office occupations........................................     15,904        15,973           546           575   
         Sales and related occupations.....................................      4,646         4,598           489           500   
         Office and administrative support occupations.....................     11,257        11,375           569           591   
       Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations........        425           498           559           616   
         Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations........................        149           162           351           389   
         Construction and extraction occupations...........................        130           144           566           733   
         Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.................        146           192           782           806   
       Production, transportation, and material moving occupations.........      3,343         3,206           448           467   
         Production occupations............................................      2,442         2,248           448           470   
         Transportation and material moving occupations....................        901           958           446           450   

       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, second quarter 2008 averages, not seasonally adjusted
                                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                  Upper limit of:                 
                                                                       Number of                                                  
                              Characteristic                            workers                                                   
                                                                          (in      First     First     Second    Third     Ninth  
                                                                       thousands)  decile   quartile  quartile  quartile   decile 
                                                                                                      (median)                    
                                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                  
                SEX, RACE, AND HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY                                                                       
                                                                                                                                  
       Total, 16 years and over.......................................  107,119      $346      $484      $719    $1,122    $1,695 
         Men..........................................................   59,759       377       519       800     1,252     1,895 
         Women........................................................   47,360       320       434       634       947     1,388 
                                                                                                                                  
         White........................................................   86,389       355       495       738     1,145     1,745 
           Men........................................................   49,412       386       536       827     1,279     1,912 
           Women......................................................   36,977       325       446       648       961     1,411 
                                                                                                                                  
         Black or African American....................................   12,889       315       413       591       869     1,262 
           Men........................................................    6,105       327       434       615       919     1,334 
           Women......................................................    6,785       306       398       568       827     1,196 
                                                                                                                                  
         Asian........................................................    5,267       361       518       855     1,378     1,906 
           Men........................................................    2,804       390       591       975     1,541     2,082 
           Women......................................................    2,463       335       477       741     1,151     1,641 
                                                                                                                                  
         Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.................................   15,951       298       384       537       798     1,185 
           Men........................................................   10,059       316       407       569       845     1,249 
           Women......................................................    5,892       280       344       494       734     1,099 
                                                                                                                                  
                          EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                  
       Total, 25 years and over.......................................   96,258       369       511       760     1,165     1,760 
         Less than a high school diploma..............................    8,422       282       344       449       619       891 
         High school graduates, no college (1)........................   27,291       335       447       620       893     1,232 
         Some college or associate degree.............................   26,612       382       512       727     1,036     1,434 
         Bachelor's degree and higher (2).............................   33,933       548       749     1,105     1,640     2,306 
           Bachelor's degree only.....................................   21,892       511       696       999     1,496     2,100 
           Advanced degree............................................   12,041       637       883     1,298     1,865     2,767 
                                                                                                                                  
         Men, 25 years and over.......................................   53,589       399       572       862     1,331     1,920 
           Less than a high school diploma............................    5,673       301       379       497       687       987 
           High school graduates, no college (1)......................   15,864       380       510       715     1,006     1,394 
           Some college or associate degree...........................   13,834       425       590       843     1,181     1,609 
           Bachelor's degree and higher (2)...........................   18,219       591       842     1,277     1,889     2,765 
             Bachelor's degree only...................................   11,730       565       778     1,164     1,745     2,378 
             Advanced degree..........................................    6,488       682       987     1,521     2,100     3,235 
                                                                                                                                  
         Women, 25 years and over.....................................   42,668       337       467       668       984     1,432 
           Less than a high school diploma............................    2,749       251       303       378       497       625 
           High school graduates, no college (1)......................   11,427       305       389       521       716       960 
           Some college or associate degree...........................   12,778       350       470       632       870     1,183 
           Bachelor's degree and higher (2)...........................   15,714       508       678       942     1,351     1,879 
             Bachelor's degree only...................................   10,162       480       633       864     1,234     1,756 
             Advanced degree..........................................    5,553       613       820     1,132     1,521     2,070 

       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                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                  II             II             II             II      
                                                                                 2007           2008           2007           2008     
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                       
                                  SEX AND AGE                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                       
       Total, 16 years and over............................................      22,470         22,534           $207           $218   
                                                                                                                                       
         Men, 16 years and over............................................       6,909          7,362            194            207   
           16 to 24 years..................................................       3,514          3,604            161            162   
           25 years and over...............................................       3,396          3,758            248            274   
                                                                                                                                       
         Women, 16 years and over..........................................      15,561         15,172            214            224   
           16 to 24 years..................................................       4,758          4,564            153            160   
           25 years and over...............................................      10,802         10,608            256            263   
                                                                                                                                       
                  RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX                                                                          
                                                                                                                                       
         White.............................................................      18,834         18,828            208            220   
           Men.............................................................       5,647          6,096            193            207   
           Women...........................................................      13,186         12,732            216            227   
                                                                                                                                       
         Black or African American.........................................       2,194          2,289            197            206   
           Men.............................................................         752            767            195            206   
           Women...........................................................       1,442          1,523            200            206   
                                                                                                                                       
         Asian.............................................................         861            875            227            244   
           Men.............................................................         313            305            217            213   
           Women...........................................................         548            569            239            270   
                                                                                                                                       
         Hispanic or Latino ethnicity......................................       2,521          2,687            206            220   
           Men.............................................................         835            996            227            234   
           Women...........................................................       1,686          1,692            200            214   

        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: July 17, 2008
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