Economic News Release

Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers News Release


For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Friday, October 16, 2009             USDL-09-1242

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
                               THIRD QUARTER 2009


Median weekly earnings of the nation's 100.1 million full-time wage and salary
workers were $738 in the third quarter of 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Sta-
tistics reported today. This was 2.5 percent higher than a year earlier. The
Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) fell by 1.6 percent over
the same period.

Data on usual weekly earnings are collected as part of the Current Population
Survey, a nationwide sample survey of households in which respondents are
asked, among other things, how much each wage and salary worker usually earns.
(See the Technical Note.) Highlights from the third-quarter data are:

   --Women who usually worked full time had median earnings of $657 per week,
     or 80.9 percent of the $812 median for men. The female-to-male earnings
     ratios were higher among blacks (95.3 percent) and Hispanics (95.2 per-
     cent) than among whites (80.0 percent) or Asians (82.6 percent). (See
     table 1.)

   --Median earnings for black men working at full-time jobs were $622 per
     week, 74.5 percent of the $835 median for white men. The difference
     was smaller among women, as black women's median earnings ($593) were
     88.8 percent of those for white women ($668). Overall, median earnings
     of Hispanics who worked full time ($527) were lower than those of
     blacks ($607), whites ($753), and Asians ($877). (See table 1.)

   --Among men, those age 45 to 54 and age 55 to 64 had the highest median
     weekly earnings, $944 and $979, respectively. Among women, weekly
     earnings were highest for those age 35 to 44 and age 45 to 54, $720
     and $727, respectively. (See table 2.)

   --Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in
     management, professional, and related occupations had the highest
     median weekly earnings--$1,259 for men and $913 for women. Persons
     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 $448, compared with $621 for high school
     graduates (no college) and $1,145 for those holding at least a bach-
     elor's degree. Among college graduates with advanced degrees (pro-
     fessional or master's degree and above), the highest earning 10 per-
     cent of male workers made $3,260 or more per week, compared with
     $2,252 or more for their female counterparts. (See table 4.)





Technical Note


   The estimates in this release were obtained from the Current Pop-
ulation Survey (CPS), which provides the basic information on the
labor force, employment, and unemployment.  The survey is conducted
monthly for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau
from a scientifically selected national sample of about 60,000 house-
holds, with coverage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The earnings data are collected from one-quarter of the CPS monthly
sample and are limited to wages and salaries.  The data, therefore,
exclude self-employment income.

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

Reliability

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

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

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

Definitions

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

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

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

   Medians (and other quantiles) of weekly earnings.  The median (or
upper limit of the second quartile) is the amount which divides a
given earnings distribution into two equal groups, one having earnings
above the median and the other having earnings below the median.  Ten
percent of a given distribution have earnings below the upper limit of
the first decile (90 percent have higher earnings); 25 percent have
earnings below the upper limit of the first quartile (75 percent have
higher earnings); 75 percent have earnings below the upper limit of
the third quartile (25 percent have higher earnings); and 90 percent
have earnings below the upper limit of the ninth decile (10 percent
have higher earnings).
   
   The estimating procedure places each reported or calculated weekly
earnings value into $50-wide intervals which are centered around
multiples of $50.  The actual value is estimated through the linear
interpolation of the interval in which the quantile boundary lies.

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

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

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

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

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

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





     Table 1.  Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by selected characteristics, quarterly averages, not
     seasonally adjusted
                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                              
                                                                          Number of workers                 Median weekly earnings            
                                                                            (in thousands)                                                    
                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                              
                              Characteristic                                                      In current dollars      In constant (1982)  
                                                                                                                               dollars        
                                                                           III         III                                                    
                                                                           2008        2009                                                   
                                                                                                    III         III         III         III   
                                                                                                    2008        2009        2008        2009  
                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                              
                                SEX AND AGE                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                              
       Total, 16 years and over.......................................   107,194     100,060        $720        $738        $317        $330  
                                                                                                                                              
         Men, 16 years and over.......................................    60,170      55,359         796         812         350         363  
           16 to 24 years.............................................     6,439       5,261         446         448         196         201  
           25 years and over..........................................    53,731      50,098         857         870         377         389  
                                                                                                                                              
         Women, 16 years and over.....................................    47,025      44,701         631         657         278         294  
           16 to 24 years.............................................     4,886       4,204         406         415         179         186  
           25 years and over..........................................    42,139      40,497         666         691         293         309  
                                                                                                                                              
                RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                              
         White........................................................    86,600      81,315         739         753         325         337  
           Men........................................................    49,727      45,963         816         835         359         373  
           Women......................................................    36,873      35,352         649         668         286         299  
                                                                                                                                              
         Black or African American....................................    12,878      11,514         589         607         259         272  
           Men........................................................     6,085       5,335         646         622         284         278  
           Women......................................................     6,793       6,179         530         593         233         265  
                                                                                                                                              
         Asian........................................................     5,266       4,919         854         877         376         392  
           Men........................................................     3,004       2,764         960         941         422         421  
           Women......................................................     2,261       2,155         723         777         318         348  
                                                                                                                                              
         Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.................................    16,095      14,586         529         527         233         236  
           Men........................................................    10,197       9,203         566         539         249         241  
           Women......................................................     5,898       5,383         498         513         219         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 2.  Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by age, race, Hispanic or Latino ethnicity,
     and sex, third quarter 2009 averages, not seasonally adjusted
                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                            
                                                                          Total                Men                Women     
                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                            
              Age, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity        Number of            Number of            Number of          
                                                                  workers     Median   workers    Median    workers    Median 
                                                                    (in       weekly     (in      weekly      (in      weekly 
                                                                 thousands) earnings thousands)  earnings thousands)  earnings
                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
                                 TOTAL                                                                                        
                                                                                                                              
       16 years and over..........................................  100,060      $738    55,359      $812    44,701      $657 
         16 to 24 years...........................................    9,465       429     5,261       448     4,204       415 
           16 to 19 years.........................................    1,380       330       819       346       561       313 
           20 to 24 years.........................................    8,085       458     4,442       479     3,643       435 
         25 years and over........................................   90,595       774    50,098       870    40,497       691 
           25 to 54 years.........................................   73,185       767    40,856       849    32,329       691 
             25 to 34 years.......................................   23,790       678    13,499       713    10,291       637 
             35 to 44 years.......................................   24,295       817    13,789       912    10,506       720 
             45 to 54 years.......................................   25,100       836    13,568       944    11,532       727 
           55 years and over......................................   17,410       813     9,242       957     8,169       693 
             55 to 64 years.......................................   14,884       838     7,798       979     7,086       706 
             65 years and over....................................    2,526       691     1,444       791     1,083       599 
                                                                                                                              
                                 White                                                                                        
       16 years and over..........................................   81,315       753    45,963       835    35,352       668 
         16 to 24 years...........................................    7,798       429     4,401       450     3,396       415 
         25 years and over........................................   73,518       795    41,562       890    31,955       705 
           25 to 54 years.........................................   58,936       785    33,713       871    25,224       703 
           55 years and over......................................   14,581       838     7,850       980     6,732       709 
                                                                                                                              
                       Black or African American                                                                              
       16 years and over..........................................   11,514       607     5,335       622     6,179       593 
         16 to 24 years...........................................      992       411       484       425       508       396 
         25 years and over........................................   10,522       627     4,852       666     5,671       609 
           25 to 54 years.........................................    8,756       623     4,059       649     4,698       609 
           55 years and over......................................    1,766       659       793       780       973       611 
                                                                                                                              
                                 Asian                                                                                        
       16 years and over..........................................    4,919       877     2,764       941     2,155       777 
         16 to 24 years...........................................      311       533       165       540       145       524 
         25 years and over........................................    4,608       899     2,599       973     2,010       800 
           25 to 54 years.........................................    3,820       926     2,158       998     1,663       841 
           55 years and over......................................      788       766       441       876       347       665 
                                                                                                                              
                      Hispanic or Latino ethnicity                                                                            
       16 years and over..........................................   14,586       527     9,203       539     5,383       513 
         16 to 24 years...........................................    1,743       385     1,057       380       686       391 
         25 years and over........................................   12,843       560     8,146       577     4,697       537 
           25 to 54 years.........................................   11,328       554     7,241       569     4,086       534 
           55 years and over......................................    1,515       612       905       665       610       566 
     
        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                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                 III           III           III           III     
                                                                                 2008          2009          2008          2009    
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                     TOTAL                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                   
       Management, professional, and related occupations...................     40,192        38,592        $1,041        $1,048   
         Management, business, and financial operations occupations........     16,448        15,697         1,135         1,138   
         Professional and related occupations..............................     23,744        22,896         1,000         1,000   
       Service occupations.................................................     15,475        14,699           470           471   
       Sales and office occupations........................................     24,795        23,749           610           622   
         Sales and related occupations.....................................      9,728         9,604           657           668   
         Office and administrative support occupations.....................     15,067        14,144           597           606   
       Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations........     11,683        10,380           701           706   
         Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations........................        822           797           476           408   
         Construction and extraction occupations...........................      6,536         5,331           689           719   
         Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.................      4,325         4,252           779           763   
       Production, transportation, and material moving occupations.........     15,049        12,640           590           602   
         Production occupations............................................      7,991         6,561           592           610   
         Transportation and material moving occupations....................      7,058         6,079           589           594   
                                                                                                                                   
                                      Men                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                   
       Management, professional, and related occupations...................     19,938        18,696         1,234         1,259   
         Management, business, and financial operations occupations........      8,797         8,451         1,335         1,329   
         Professional and related occupations..............................     11,141        10,245         1,167         1,229   
       Service occupations.................................................      7,637         7,497           545           515   
       Sales and office occupations........................................      9,396         9,062           728           736   
         Sales and related occupations.....................................      5,432         5,242           787           792   
         Office and administrative support occupations.....................      3,965         3,820           657           648   
       Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations........     11,265         9,932           704           714   
         Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations........................        688           653           480           422   
         Construction and extraction occupations...........................      6,387         5,213           688           721   
         Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.................      4,190         4,067           781           772   
       Production, transportation, and material moving occupations.........     11,933        10,171           637           640   
         Production occupations............................................      5,797         4,883           650           680   
         Transportation and material moving occupations....................      6,136         5,288           620           609   
                                                                                                                                   
                                     Women                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                   
       Management, professional, and related occupations...................     20,254        19,897           916           913   
         Management, business, and financial operations occupations........      7,650         7,246           958           955   
         Professional and related occupations..............................     12,604        12,651           886           886   
       Service occupations.................................................      7,838         7,201           416           426   
       Sales and office occupations........................................     15,399        14,687           576           590   
         Sales and related occupations.....................................      4,297         4,362           524           545   
         Office and administrative support occupations.....................     11,103        10,325           585           598   
       Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations........        417           448           599           527   
         Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations........................        134           144           423           338   
         Construction and extraction occupations...........................        149           118           755           648   
         Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.................        134           185           685           652   
       Production, transportation, and material moving occupations.........      3,116         2,469           456           473   
         Production occupations............................................      2,194         1,678           468           470   
         Transportation and material moving occupations....................        923           791           423           478   
      
         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, third quarter 2009 averages, not seasonally adjusted
                                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                  
                                                                       Number of                  Upper limit of:                 
                                                                        workers                                                   
                              Characteristic                              (in                                                     
                                                                       thousands)   First    First     Second    Third      Ninth 
                                                                                   decile   quartile  quartile  quartile   decile 
                                                                                                      (median)                    
                                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                  
                SEX, RACE, AND HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY                                                                       
                                                                                                                                  
       Total, 16 years and over.......................................  100,060      $346      $488      $738    $1,147    $1,755 
         Men..........................................................   55,359       369       518       812     1,267     1,905 
         Women........................................................   44,701       328       449       657       984     1,459 
                                                                                                                                  
         White........................................................   81,315       350       497       753     1,166     1,795 
           Men........................................................   45,963       375       532       835     1,298     1,913 
           Women......................................................   35,352       329       458       668       997     1,479 
                                                                                                                                  
         Black or African American....................................   11,514       327       420       607       903     1,286 
           Men........................................................    5,335       332       447       622       949     1,440 
           Women......................................................    6,179       323       408       593       848     1,171 
                                                                                                                                  
         Asian........................................................    4,919       378       546       877     1,354     1,991 
           Men........................................................    2,764       396       583       941     1,539     2,209 
           Women......................................................    2,155       346       511       777     1,225     1,782 
                                                                                                                                  
         Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.................................   14,586       296       376       527       806     1,250 
           Men........................................................    9,203       300       386       539       836     1,308 
           Women......................................................    5,383       291       358       513       761     1,147 
                                                                                                                                  
                          EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                  
       Total, 25 years and over.......................................   90,595       373       517       774     1,192     1,838 
         Less than a high school diploma..............................    7,278       283       341       448       615       858 
         High school graduates, no college (1)........................   25,492       339       454       621       895     1,224 
         Some college or associate degree.............................   24,958       382       509       720     1,029     1,419 
         Bachelor's degree and higher (2).............................   32,867       569       774     1,145     1,732     2,410 
           Bachelor's degree only.....................................   21,030       519       726     1,026     1,548     2,206 
           Advanced degree............................................   11,837       672       923     1,336     1,906     2,896 
                                                                                                                                  
         Men, 25 years and over.......................................   50,098       396       573       870     1,337     1,930 
           Less than a high school diploma............................    4,924       296       375       495       686       926 
           High school graduates, no college (1)......................   14,806       374       501       715     1,000     1,375 
           Some college or associate degree...........................   12,923       419       578       824     1,164     1,562 
           Bachelor's degree and higher (2)...........................   17,445       602       879     1,310     1,905     2,883 
             Bachelor's degree only...................................   11,251       575       807     1,194     1,775     2,490 
             Advanced degree..........................................    6,194       737     1,046     1,536     2,190     3,260 
                                                                                                                                  
         Women, 25 years and over.....................................   40,497       346       480       691     1,017     1,516 
           Less than a high school diploma............................    2,353       260       306       382       501       626 
           High school graduates, no college (1)......................   10,686       315       404       545       734       983 
           Some college or associate degree...........................   12,036       352       467       624       867     1,196 
           Bachelor's degree and higher (2)...........................   15,422       518       721       981     1,414     1,930 
             Bachelor's degree only...................................    9,779       492       659       905     1,273     1,857 
             Advanced degree..........................................    5,643       628       841     1,161     1,641     2,252 
     
         1 Includes persons with a high school diploma or equivalent.
         2 Includes persons with bachelor's, master's, professional, and doctoral degrees.
         NOTE:  Ten percent of all full-time wage and salary workers earn less than the upper limit of the first decile; 25 per-
     cent earn less than the upper limit of the first quartile; 50 percent earn less than the upper limit of the second quartile,
     or median; 75 percent earn less than the upper limit of the third quartile; and 90 percent earn less than the upper limit of
     the ninth decile.  Estimates for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals
     because data are not presented for all races.  Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any
     race.  Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.
     
     
     
     


      Table 5.  Median usual weekly earnings of part-time wage and salary workers by selected characteristics, quarterly averages, not
      seasonally adjusted
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                  Number of workers           Median weekly earnings   
                                                                                    (in thousands)                                     
                                 Characteristic                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                 III            III              III            III    
                                                                                 2008           2009             2008           2009   
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                       
                                  SEX AND AGE                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                       
       Total, 16 years and over............................................      22,345         24,291           $223           $229   
                                                                                                                                       
         Men, 16 years and over............................................       7,262          8,512            212            227   
           16 to 24 years..................................................       3,533          3,708            169            180   
           25 years and over...............................................       3,729          4,804            280            278   
                                                                                                                                       
         Women, 16 years and over..........................................      15,083         15,779            229            230   
           16 to 24 years..................................................       4,517          4,553            172            172   
           25 years and over...............................................      10,566         11,226            262            266   
                                                                                                                                       
                  RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX                                                                          
                                                                                                                                       
           White...........................................................      18,677         20,308            224            230   
               Men.........................................................       5,926          7,038            212            229   
               Women.......................................................      12,751         13,270            230            231   
                                                                                                                                       
           Black or African American.......................................       2,122          2,440            214            219   
               Men.........................................................         782            886            206            219   
               Women.......................................................       1,340          1,554            218            219   
                                                                                                                                       
           Asian...........................................................         879            969            245            246   
               Men.........................................................         301            355            244            230   
               Women.......................................................         578            614            246            256   
                                                                                                                                       
           Hispanic or Latino ethnicity....................................       2,781          3,358            220            230   
               Men.........................................................       1,043          1,430            226            241   
               Women.......................................................       1,739          1,928            216            222   
      
         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: October 16, 2009
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