Economic News Release

Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, April 21, 2015                                     USDL-15-0688

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  --  FIRST QUARTER 2015


Median weekly earnings of the nation's 107.2 million full-time wage and salary workers were $808 in 
the first quarter of 2015 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. 
This was 1.5 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a decline of 0.1 percent in the Consumer 
Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the same period.

Data on usual weekly earnings are collected as part of the Current 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 news release are not seasonally 
adjusted unless otherwise specified. Highlights from the first-quarter data include:

•	Median weekly earnings of full-time workers were $808 in the first quarter of 2015. Women 
        had median usual weekly earnings of $730, or 81.6 percent of the $895 median for men. 
        (See table 2.) 

•	The women's-to-men's earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White women earned 81.3 
        percent as much as their male counterparts, compared with black women (88.5 percent), Asian 
        women (79.7 percent), and Hispanic women (89.4 percent). (See table 2.)

•	Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median weekly earnings for black men working at 
        full-time jobs were $694 per week, or 75.6 percent of the median for white men ($918). The 
        difference was less among women, as black women's median earnings ($614) were 82.3 percent 
        of those for white women ($746). Overall, median earnings of Hispanics who worked full time 
        ($590) were lower than those of blacks ($650), whites ($835), and Asians ($966). 
        (See table 2.) 

•	Usual weekly earnings of full-time workers varied by age. Among men, median weekly earnings 
        were highest for those age 45 to 54 ($1,039) and 55 to 64 ($1,038). Usual weekly earnings 
        were highest for women age 35 to 64: weekly earnings were $796 for women age 35 to 44, $811 
        for women age 45 to 54, and $777 for women age 55 to 64. Workers age 16 to 24 had the lowest 
        median weekly earnings, at $480. (See table 3.) 

•	Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in management, professional, 
        and related occupations had the highest median weekly earnings--$1,372 for men and $988 for 
        women. Men and women employed in service jobs earned the least, $575 and $461, respectively. 
        (See table 4.) 

•	By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma 
        had median weekly earnings of $478, compared with $669 for high school graduates (no college) 
        and $1,227 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 $3,862 or more per week, compared with $2,420 or more for their female 
        counterparts. (See table 5.) 

•	Seasonally adjusted median weekly earnings were $802 in the first quarter of 2015, little 
        changed from the previous quarter ($796). (See table 1.) 


   ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
  |                                                                                                    |
  |                   Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Usual Weekly Earnings Data                       |
  |                                                                                                    |
  |Seasonally adjusted data for median usual weekly earnings in constant (1982-84) dollars have been   |
  |updated using revised seasonally adjusted data for the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers |
  |(CPI-U). (Data are shown in table 1 of the release.) Seasonally adjusted constant (1982-84) dollar  |
  |estimates back to the first quarter of 2010 were subject to revision.                               |
  |____________________________________________________________________________________________________|




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 house-
holds, with coverage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The earnings data
are collected from one-fourth of the CPS monthly sample and are limited to wage and
salary workers. All self-employed workers, both incorporated and unincorporated, are
excluded from CPS earnings estimates.

   Material in this news release is in the public domain and may be used without
permission. This information is available to sensory impaired individuals upon
request. Voice telephone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Definitions

   The principal definitions used in connection with the earnings data in this news
release 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, or 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 determined by each respondent's own understanding of the term. 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 midpoint in a given earnings distribution, with half of workers
having earnings above the median and the other half 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 BLS procedure for estimating the median of an earnings distribution places each 
reported or calculated weekly earnings value into a $50-wide interval that is centered
around a multiple of $50. The median is calculated through the linear interpolation of 
the interval in which the median lies.

   Changes over time 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 as follows: (1) there
could be a change in the relative weights of the subgroups. For example, the median of
16- to 24-year-olds and the median earnings of those 25 years and over may rise, but if
the lower earning 16-to-24 age 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 change could be caused by survey observations that are clustered at rounded values,
such as $400 or $500. 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.

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

   Wage and salary workers. These are 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, it excludes all self-
employed persons, both those with incorporated businesses and those with unincorporated
businesses.

   Full-time workers. For the purpose of producing estimates of earnings, workers who
usually work 35 hours or more per week at their sole or principal job are defined as
working full time.

   Part-time workers. For the purpose of producing estimates of earnings, workers who
usually work fewer than 35 hours per week at their sole or principal job are defined as
working part time.

   Race. In the survey process, race is determined by the household respondent. In
accordance with the Office of Management and Budget guidelines, white, black or African
American, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific 
Islander are terms used to describe a person's race. Estimates for the latter two race
groups and persons who selected more than one race are not included in this release due
to insufficient sample size.

   Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. This refers to people who identified themselves in the
survey process as being of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. People whose ethnicity
is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

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 component of
this difference that occurs because samples differ by chance is known as sampling error,
and its 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.

   Additional information about the reliability of data from the CPS is available on the
BLS website at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#reliability.

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
seasonally 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 seasonal
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
$

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

107,786 60,378 47,408 713 783 633 335 368 298

2nd Quarter

107,046 59,586 47,460 722 802 636 335 372 295

3rd Quarter

106,136 59,273 46,863 724 802 637 331 367 291

4th Quarter

105,617 58,511 47,106 727 806 647 340 377 302

2009

1st Quarter

101,683 56,302 45,381 732 815 645 345 384 304

2nd Quarter

99,996 55,233 44,763 737 818 652 345 383 305

3rd Quarter

99,050 54,481 44,569 742 820 664 345 381 309

4th Quarter

98,555 54,410 44,145 747 823 666 344 379 307

2010

1st Quarter

98,143 54,098 44,045 748 836 662 352 393 312

2nd Quarter

99,605 55,028 44,577 742 814 671 348 381 314

3rd Quarter

100,412 55,620 44,792 746 821 670 346 381 311

4th Quarter

99,958 55,486 44,472 750 826 676 345 380 312

2011

1st Quarter

99,682 55,337 44,345 750 821 679 345 378 312

2nd Quarter

100,352 55,822 44,530 754 830 687 347 382 316

3rd Quarter

100,488 56,060 44,428 759 836 681 348 383 313

4th Quarter

101,315 56,667 44,648 761 838 686 346 381 312

2012

1st Quarter

102,184 57,118 45,066 764 841 693 344 379 312

2nd Quarter

102,504 57,057 45,448 772 870 687 344 387 306

3rd Quarter

102,630 57,245 45,385 765 836 693 338 370 306

4th Quarter

103,685 57,735 45,950 772 868 691 340 382 304

2013

1st Quarter

103,950 57,919 46,031 768 860 699 337 377 306

2nd Quarter

103,929 57,891 46,038 777 865 706 339 378 308

3rd Quarter

104,512 58,162 46,350 777 856 706 338 372 307

4th Quarter

104,673 58,019 46,654 783 862 712 338 373 308

2014

1st Quarter

105,639 58,728 46,911 790 866 716 341 373 308

2nd Quarter

106,320 59,445 46,875 782 861 715 337 371 308

3rd Quarter

106,889 59,661 47,228 797 880 722 341 377 309

4th Quarter

107,264 59,975 47,289 796 875 723 340 374 309

2015

1st Quarter

108,410 60,405 48,005 802 887 724 341 377 308

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
1st
2014
1st
2015
In current dollars In constant (1982-84) dollars
1st
2014
1st
2015
1st
2014
1st
2015

SEX AND AGE

Total, 16 years and over

104,327 107,194 $796 $808 $339 $344

Men, 16 years and over

57,654 59,361 872 895 371 381

16 to 24 years

4,871 5,067 480 491 204 209

25 years and over

52,783 54,294 925 944 394 402

Women, 16 years and over

46,673 47,833 722 730 307 311

16 to 24 years

3,707 4,039 434 461 185 196

25 years and over

42,967 43,794 754 759 321 323

RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX

White

82,536 84,008 819 835 349 356

Men

46,637 47,591 898 918 382 391

Women

35,899 36,416 740 746 315 318

Black or African American

12,501 13,241 646 650 275 277

Men

5,863 6,268 708 694 301 296

Women

6,638 6,972 606 614 258 262

Asian

6,353 6,570 955 966 407 411

Men

3,516 3,684 1,045 1,090 445 464

Women

2,838 2,886 876 869 373 370

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

16,804 18,124 593 590 252 251

Men

10,292 10,973 610 612 260 260

Women

6,513 7,151 565 547 240 233

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, 1st quarter 2015 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

107,194 $808 59,361 $895 47,833 $730

16 to 24 years

9,106 480 5,067 491 4,039 461

16 to 19 years

995 378 619 394 376 356

20 to 24 years

8,111 493 4,448 504 3,663 478

25 years and over

98,088 856 54,294 944 43,794 759

25 to 54 years

76,291 847 42,510 922 33,781 757

25 to 34 years

26,227 736 14,780 772 11,446 693

35 to 44 years

24,684 893 13,879 981 10,805 796

45 to 54 years

25,380 930 13,850 1,039 11,530 811

55 years and over

21,797 893 11,784 1,029 10,013 768

55 to 64 years

17,838 903 9,632 1,038 8,205 777

65 years and over

3,959 838 2,152 989 1,807 741

White

16 years and over

84,008 835 47,591 918 36,416 746

16 to 24 years

7,128 492 4,031 503 3,097 476

25 years and over

76,879 883 43,560 969 33,319 776

25 to 54 years

59,009 872 33,720 945 25,289 773

55 years and over

17,870 924 9,840 1,060 8,030 788

Black or African American

16 years and over

13,241 650 6,268 694 6,972 614

16 to 24 years

1,220 389 616 398 604 375

25 years and over

12,020 692 5,652 731 6,368 654

25 to 54 years

9,720 680 4,595 721 5,126 633

55 years and over

2,300 738 1,057 764 1,242 720

Asian

16 years and over

6,570 966 3,684 1,090 2,886 869

16 to 24 years

328 574 181 493 147 650

25 years and over

6,242 999 3,503 1,129 2,739 881

25 to 54 years

5,085 1,045 2,875 1,146 2,210 918

55 years and over

1,157 860 627 1,034 530 749

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

16 years and over

18,124 590 10,973 612 7,151 547

16 to 24 years

2,135 433 1,322 448 814 415

25 years and over

15,989 616 9,651 656 6,337 580

25 to 54 years

13,645 615 8,271 653 5,374 582

55 years and over

2,344 620 1,380 679 963 560

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
1st
2014
1st
2015
1st
2014
1st
2015

TOTAL

Management, professional, and related occupations

42,034 44,441 $1,130 $1,149

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

17,015 18,078 1,231 1,253

Professional and related occupations

25,020 26,363 1,072 1,089

Service occupations

14,822 15,011 504 505

Sales and office occupations

23,416 23,179 685 674

Sales and related occupations

9,683 9,526 754 718

Office and administrative support occupations

13,733 13,652 660 653

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

10,162 10,322 763 781

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

607 731 417 446

Construction and extraction occupations

5,304 5,365 745 768

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

4,250 4,226 820 847

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

13,894 14,241 644 631

Production occupations

7,507 7,503 644 643

Transportation and material moving occupations

6,386 6,738 644 618

Men

Management, professional, and related occupations

19,884 21,407 1,347 1,372

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

9,040 9,925 1,399 1,455

Professional and related occupations

10,844 11,481 1,297 1,314

Service occupations

7,623 7,538 581 575

Sales and office occupations

9,261 9,279 794 779

Sales and related occupations

5,468 5,322 875 914

Office and administrative support occupations

3,793 3,957 720 680

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

9,713 9,904 773 788

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

496 601 423 461

Construction and extraction occupations

5,168 5,234 750 773

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

4,049 4,069 823 855

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

11,174 11,233 686 684

Production occupations

5,631 5,423 705 710

Transportation and material moving occupations

5,543 5,810 668 648

Women

Management, professional, and related occupations

22,151 23,034 975 988

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

7,975 8,152 1,055 1,064

Professional and related occupations

14,176 14,881 943 959

Service occupations

7,199 7,473 459 461

Sales and office occupations

14,155 13,900 629 622

Sales and related occupations

4,215 4,204 599 581

Office and administrative support occupations

9,940 9,696 641 644

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

448 418 543 584

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

112 130 368 397

Construction and extraction occupations

136 131 630 618

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

201 157 649 753

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

2,720 3,008 504 505

Production occupations

1,877 2,080 504 510

Transportation and material moving occupations

843 928 505 494

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, 1st quarter 2015 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

107,194 $381 $522 $808 $1,278 $1,923

Men

59,361 400 572 895 1,447 2,186

Women

47,833 356 492 730 1,118 1,669

White

84,008 388 544 835 1,321 1,981

Men

47,591 408 587 918 1,477 2,249

Women

36,416 364 504 746 1,134 1,685

Black or African American

13,241 334 450 650 998 1,528

Men

6,268 358 482 694 1,064 1,567

Women

6,972 320 426 614 922 1,469

Asian

6,570 406 593 966 1,617 2,394

Men

3,684 410 615 1,090 1,868 2,739

Women

2,886 400 569 869 1,415 2,023

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

18,124 329 413 590 895 1,368

Men

10,973 345 428 612 952 1,456

Women

7,151 307 392 547 808 1,190

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT

Total, 25 years and over

98,088 398 565 856 1,350 2,004

Less than a high school diploma

7,176 302 373 478 650 915

High school graduates, no college(1)

24,918 367 483 669 965 1,399

Some college or associate degree

26,020 400 527 758 1,105 1,565

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

39,973 594 829 1,227 1,862 2,772

Bachelor's degree only

25,056 566 758 1,134 1,684 2,479

Advanced degree

14,917 689 961 1,393 2,061 3,110

Men, 25 years and over

54,294 420 605 944 1,506 2,283

Less than a high school diploma

5,013 323 393 506 702 983

High school graduates, no college(1)

14,966 399 529 747 1,071 1,530

Some college or associate degree

13,610 442 596 876 1,271 1,791

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

20,705 636 947 1,429 2,050 3,162

Bachelor's degree only

13,227 604 868 1,299 1,897 2,890

Advanced degree

7,478 752 1,096 1,636 2,406 3,862

Women, 25 years and over

43,794 375 514 759 1,156 1,740

Less than a high school diploma

2,163 278 335 410 514 708

High school graduates, no college(1)

9,952 331 418 575 784 1,093

Some college or associate degree

12,410 371 487 654 916 1,282

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

19,268 568 748 1,048 1,534 2,208

Bachelor's degree only

11,829 525 687 959 1,420 2,019

Advanced degree

7,439 650 877 1,209 1,739 2,420

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
1st
2014
1st
2015
1st
2014
1st
2015

SEX AND AGE

Total, 16 years and over

25,053 24,860 $236 $246

Men, 16 years and over

8,688 8,651 235 241

16 to 24 years

3,652 3,772 181 191

25 years and over

5,036 4,878 285 280

Women, 16 years and over

16,366 16,209 237 250

16 to 24 years

4,904 4,766 173 174

25 years and over

11,462 11,443 276 291

RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX

White

20,274 19,926 238 248

Men

6,960 6,855 234 242

Women

13,314 13,071 240 252

Black or African American

2,952 2,810 228 225

Men

1,068 1,017 252 223

Women

1,884 1,793 216 226

Asian

949 1,206 254 287

Men

293 404 202 294

Women

656 802 285 281

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

4,116 4,091 226 245

Men

1,577 1,642 247 248

Women

2,539 2,450 214 242

NOTE: Estimates for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.


Last Modified Date: April 21, 2015
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