Economic News Release

Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, July 18, 2012                  USDL-12-1419

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


            USUAL WEEKLY EARNINGS OF WAGE AND SALARY WORKERS
                           SECOND QUARTER 2012              


Median weekly earnings of the nation's 102.8 million full-time wage and salary 
workers were $771 in the second quarter of 2012 (not seasonally adjusted), 
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was 2.4 percent higher 
than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.9 percent in the Consumer Price 
Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the same period.

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

   --Seasonally adjusted median weekly earnings were $773 in the
     second quarter of 2012, little changed from the previous quarter
     ($763). (See table 1.)

   --On a not seasonally adjusted basis, median weekly earnings were $771 
     in the second quarter of 2012. Women who usually worked full time
     had median weekly earnings of $689, or 79.7 percent of the $865 median
     for men. (See table 2.)

   --The female-to-male earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity.
     Black women earned 92.2 percent as much as their male counterparts,
     compared with Hispanic (87.5 percent), white (78.7 percent), and Asian
     women (70.6 percent). (See table 2.)

   --Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median weekly earnings
     for black men working full time were $668, or 75.0 percent of the 
     median for white men ($891). The difference was smaller among
     women, as black women's median weekly earnings ($616) were 87.9
     percent of those for white women ($701). Overall, median weekly
     earnings of Hispanics who worked full time ($576) were lower than
     those of blacks ($637), whites ($792), and Asians ($930). (See
     table 2.)

   --Usual weekly earnings of full-time workers varied by age. Among
     both men and women, median weekly earnings tend to be higher in the
     older age groups. Men between the ages of 45 to 54 had median weekly
     earnings of $1,003, about the same as the median for men age 55 to 64
     ($1,015). Usual weekly earnings were highest for women age 35 to 64;
     weekly earnings were $749 for women age 35 to 44, $733 for women age
     45 to 54, and $760 for women age 55 to 64. Workers age 16 to 24 had
     the lowest median weekly earnings, at $429. (See table 3.)

   --Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time
     in management, professional, and related occupations had the highest
     median weekly earnings--$1,342 for men and $945 for women. Men and
     women employed in service jobs earned the least, $529 and $435,
     respectively. (See table 4.)

   --By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without 
     a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $483, compared 
     with $659 for high school graduates (no college) and $1,164 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 $3,481 or more per 
     week, compared with $2,304 or more for their female counterparts. 
     (See table 5.)




Technical Note


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

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

Reliability

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

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

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seasonal adjustment

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

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

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




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

2003

2nd Quarter

100,255 56,013 44,242 619 692 551 338 378 301

3rd Quarter

100,139 56,178 43,961 621 697 554 337 378 300

4th Quarter

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

2004

1st Quarter

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

2nd Quarter

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

3rd Quarter

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

4th Quarter

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

2005

1st Quarter

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

2nd Quarter

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

3rd Quarter

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

4th Quarter

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

2006

1st Quarter

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

2nd Quarter

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

3rd Quarter

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

4th Quarter

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

2007

1st Quarter

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

2nd Quarter

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

3rd Quarter

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

4th Quarter

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

2008

1st Quarter

107,819 60,401 47,418 713 783 633 335 368 298

2nd Quarter

107,051 59,581 47,469 722 801 636 335 372 295

3rd Quarter

106,114 59,259 46,856 724 802 637 331 367 291

4th Quarter

105,585 58,499 47,087 727 807 647 340 377 302

2009

1st Quarter

101,734 56,339 45,395 731 815 645 344 384 304

2nd Quarter

100,002 55,226 44,776 737 816 652 345 382 306

3rd Quarter

99,004 54,451 44,553 742 820 664 345 381 308

4th Quarter

98,535 54,405 44,130 747 824 666 344 380 307

2010

1st Quarter

98,223 54,156 44,067 747 836 662 344 384 305

2nd Quarter

99,621 55,030 44,591 743 812 671 342 374 309

3rd Quarter

100,333 55,569 44,765 745 821 670 342 377 307

4th Quarter

99,927 55,468 44,459 751 828 675 342 377 307

2011

1st Quarter

99,788 55,407 44,380 749 820 680 337 369 306

2nd Quarter

100,377 55,839 44,539 756 828 688 337 369 306

3rd Quarter

100,369 55,981 44,388 758 835 681 335 369 301

4th Quarter

101,294 56,652 44,642 762 841 685 336 371 302

2012

1st Quarter

102,223 57,162 45,061 763 841 694 334 368 304

2nd Quarter

102,490 57,104 45,386 773 865 688 338 378 301

NOTE: 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 selected characteristics, quarterly averages, not seasonally adjusted
Characteristic Number of workers
(in thousands)
Median weekly earnings
2nd
2011
2nd
2012
In current dollars In constant (1982-84) dollars
2nd
2011
2nd
2012
2nd
2011
2nd
2012

SEX AND AGE

Total, 16 years and over

100,593 102,769 $753 $771 $334 $335

Men, 16 years and over

56,053 57,319 825 865 366 376

16 to 24 years

5,009 5,200 446 460 198 200

25 years and over

51,045 52,119 884 918 392 400

Women, 16 years and over

44,539 45,450 689 689 305 300

16 to 24 years

3,661 3,897 417 409 185 178

25 years and over

40,878 41,553 720 727 319 316

RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX

White

81,516 82,045 770 792 341 344

Men

46,572 46,765 850 891 377 388

Women

34,944 35,280 705 701 312 305

Black or African American

11,612 12,198 623 637 276 277

Men

5,376 5,785 673 668 298 291

Women

6,236 6,413 592 616 263 268

Asian

5,181 5,540 872 930 387 405

Men

2,872 3,101 972 1,092 431 475

Women

2,308 2,439 748 771 332 336

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

15,472 16,325 565 576 251 251

Men

9,649 9,995 586 600 260 261

Women

5,823 6,330 524 525 233 229

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 age, race, Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, and sex, 2nd quarter 2012 averages, not seasonally adjusted
Age, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity Total Men Women
Number of
workers
(in
thousands)
Median
weekly
earnings
Number of
workers
(in
thousands)
Median
weekly
earnings
Number of
workers
(in
thousands)
Median
weekly
earnings

TOTAL

16 years and over

102,769 $771 57,319 $865 45,450 $689

16 to 24 years

9,098 429 5,200 460 3,897 409

16 to 19 years

1,068 357 648 372 420 322

20 to 24 years

8,029 453 4,552 477 3,477 418

25 years and over

93,672 821 52,119 918 41,553 727

25 to 54 years

74,267 810 41,749 902 32,518 722

25 to 34 years

24,648 722 14,036 751 10,611 680

35 to 44 years

24,136 861 13,731 953 10,405 749

45 to 54 years

25,484 884 13,982 1,003 11,502 733

55 years and over

19,405 873 10,370 991 9,034 748

55 to 64 years

16,340 897 8,671 1,015 7,669 760

65 years and over

3,065 712 1,699 780 1,366 661

White

16 years and over

82,045 792 46,765 891 35,280 701

16 to 24 years

7,188 451 4,179 471 3,009 421

25 years and over

74,857 846 42,586 943 32,271 736

25 to 54 years

58,671 833 33,829 925 24,843 731

55 years and over

16,186 893 8,757 1,020 7,428 758

Black or African American

16 years and over

12,198 637 5,785 668 6,413 616

16 to 24 years

1,211 382 599 392 612 369

25 years and over

10,987 682 5,186 704 5,801 658

25 to 54 years

9,004 673 4,270 693 4,734 652

55 years and over

1,984 752 916 792 1,067 727

Asian

16 years and over

5,540 930 3,101 1,092 2,439 771

16 to 24 years

321 492 201 514 120 417

25 years and over

5,219 957 2,900 1,137 2,319 807

25 to 54 years

4,360 982 2,393 1,157 1,967 849

55 years and over

859 805 507 980 352 625

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

16 years and over

16,325 576 9,995 600 6,330 525

16 to 24 years

2,036 403 1,242 422 794 381

25 years and over

14,289 608 8,753 632 5,536 569

25 to 54 years

12,595 607 7,794 633 4,800 564

55 years and over

1,694 615 958 624 736 602

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 4. Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by occupation and sex, quarterly averages, not seasonally adjusted
Occupation and sex Number of workers
(in thousands)
Median weekly earnings
2nd
2011
2nd
2012
2nd
2011
2nd
2012

TOTAL

Management, professional, and related occupations

39,877 40,782 $1,069 $1,102

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

16,122 16,884 1,149 1,174

Professional and related occupations

23,754 23,898 1,019 1,036

Service occupations

14,233 14,836 489 485

Sales and office occupations

23,070 23,536 645 659

Sales and related occupations

9,235 9,394 674 696

Office and administrative support occupations

13,835 14,142 629 646

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

10,015 9,732 725 745

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

743 699 438 444

Construction and extraction occupations

5,169 5,040 719 762

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

4,104 3,993 796 800

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

13,398 13,883 610 651

Production occupations

7,011 7,407 617 647

Transportation and material moving occupations

6,387 6,475 601 656

Men

Management, professional, and related occupations

19,209 19,720 1,268 1,342

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

8,775 9,163 1,371 1,410

Professional and related occupations

10,434 10,557 1,199 1,269

Service occupations

7,430 7,642 544 529

Sales and office occupations

8,940 9,515 739 764

Sales and related occupations

5,099 5,504 770 843

Office and administrative support occupations

3,841 4,011 693 692

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

9,650 9,383 729 756

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

622 578 445 453

Construction and extraction occupations

5,095 4,946 721 766

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

3,933 3,859 796 802

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

10,824 11,059 652 696

Production occupations

5,258 5,433 674 716

Transportation and material moving occupations

5,566 5,626 626 676

Women

Management, professional, and related occupations

20,667 21,062 931 945

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

7,347 7,721 961 979

Professional and related occupations

13,320 13,341 908 928

Service occupations

6,803 7,194 439 435

Sales and office occupations

14,130 14,021 606 615

Sales and related occupations

4,137 3,890 576 509

Office and administrative support occupations

9,994 10,131 615 636

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

365 349 636 586

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

121 121 385 428

Construction and extraction occupations

74 94 688 647

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

171 134 775 709

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

2,574 2,824 484 512

Production occupations

1,753 1,974 494 505

Transportation and material moving occupations

820 850 451 551

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


Table 5. Quartiles and selected deciles of usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by selected characteristics, 2nd quarter 2012 averages, not seasonally adjusted
Characteristic Number of
workers
(in
thousands)
Upper limit of:
First decile First
quartile
Second
quartile
(median)
Third
quartile
Ninth
decile

SEX, RACE, AND HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY

Total, 16 years and over

102,769 $360 $505 $771 $1,203 $1,875

Men

57,319 382 544 865 1,364 2,022

Women

45,450 335 473 689 1,030 1,530

White

82,045 368 516 792 1,236 1,895

Men

46,765 388 566 891 1,394 2,097

Women

35,280 342 483 701 1,049 1,564

Black or African American

12,198 318 429 637 942 1,351

Men

5,785 333 463 668 974 1,423

Women

6,413 309 414 616 917 1,274

Asian

5,540 381 570 930 1,491 2,207

Men

3,101 407 660 1,092 1,713 2,491

Women

2,439 355 493 771 1,269 1,867

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

16,325 308 397 576 876 1,332

Men

9,995 321 414 600 926 1,396

Women

6,330 294 374 525 772 1,167

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT

Total, 25 years and over

93,672 385 543 821 1,261 1,900

Less than a high school diploma

7,140 288 353 483 656 921

High school graduates, no college(1)

25,234 353 474 659 938 1,294

Some college or associate degree

25,821 389 528 754 1,087 1,522

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

35,477 570 797 1,164 1,765 2,520

Bachelor's degree only

22,732 517 736 1,070 1,592 2,292

Advanced degree

12,745 664 936 1,368 2,015 2,989

Men, 25 years and over

52,119 409 596 918 1,425 2,112

Less than a high school diploma

4,784 305 384 515 727 1,003

High school graduates, no college(1)

15,181 382 516 742 1,047 1,430

Some college or associate degree

13,517 428 605 876 1,242 1,745

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

18,637 606 912 1,377 1,995 2,918

Bachelor's degree only

12,070 571 837 1,254 1,875 2,598

Advanced degree

6,567 753 1,099 1,640 2,395 3,481

Women, 25 years and over

41,553 358 497 727 1,073 1,579

Less than a high school diploma

2,355 269 312 399 517 673

High school graduates, no college(1)

10,054 323 414 572 759 1,009

Some college or associate degree

12,304 359 485 660 924 1,224

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

16,840 523 727 1,001 1,435 2,020

Bachelor's degree only

10,661 490 661 935 1,335 1,881

Advanced degree

6,178 612 847 1,145 1,692 2,304

Footnotes
(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 6. Median usual weekly earnings of part-time wage and salary workers by selected characteristics, quarterly averages, not seasonally adjusted
Characteristic Number of workers
(in thousands)
Median weekly earnings
2nd
2011
2nd
2012
2nd
2011
2nd
2012

SEX AND AGE

Total, 16 years and over

24,307 24,616 $226 $226

Men, 16 years and over

8,345 8,484 219 220

16 to 24 years

3,560 3,735 177 171

25 years and over

4,785 4,749 263 277

Women, 16 years and over

15,962 16,132 231 229

16 to 24 years

4,624 4,720 166 172

25 years and over

11,338 11,412 271 263

RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX

White

20,163 19,741 229 228

Men

6,712 6,683 221 220

Women

13,451 13,058 235 233

Black or African American

2,487 2,787 206 218

Men

979 949 207 220

Women

1,508 1,838 206 217

Asian

1,027 1,140 260 240

Men

380 457 254 242

Women

647 682 264 238

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

3,317 3,846 229 218

Men

1,433 1,431 247 230

Women

1,883 2,414 218 213

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 18, 2012
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