Economic News Release

Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, July 21, 2015                    USDL-15-1431

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 2015


Median weekly earnings of the nation's 108.8 million full-time wage and salary
workers were $801 in the second quarter of 2015 (not seasonally adjusted), the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was 2.7 percent higher than
a year earlier, compared with no change 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:

   --Median weekly earnings of full-time workers were $801 in the second quarter
     of 2015. Women had median usual weekly earnings of $726, or 81.9 percent of
     the $886 median for men. (See table 2.)

   --The women's-to-men's earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White women
     earned 81.2 percent as much as their male counterparts, compared with black
     women (88.4 percent), Asian women (77.1 percent), and Hispanic women (92.4
     percent). (See table 2.)

   --Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median weekly earnings for black
     men working at full-time jobs were $696 per week, or 76.1 percent of the
     median for white men ($914). The difference was less among women, as black
     women's median earnings ($615) were 82.9 percent of those for white women
     ($742). Overall, median earnings of Hispanics who worked full time ($601)
     were lower than those of blacks ($647), whites ($829), and Asians ($965).
     (See table 2.)

   --Usual weekly earnings of full-time workers varied by age. Among men, median
     weekly earnings were highest for those ages 45 to 54 ($1,058) and 55 to 64
     ($1,037). Usual weekly earnings were highest for women age 35 to 64: weekly
     earnings were $792 for women age 35 to 44, $797 for women age 45 to 54, and
     $794 for women age 55 to 64. Workers age 16 to 24 had the lowest median
     weekly earnings, at $476. (See table 3.)

   --Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in management,
     professional, and related occupations had the highest median weekly earnings--
     $1,357 for men and $987 for women. Men and women employed in service jobs
     earned the least, $587 and $457, respectively. (See table 4.)

   --By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without a high
     school diploma had median weekly earnings of $499, compared with $678 for
     high school graduates (no college) and $1,210 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 $3,779 or more per week, compared with $2,412 or more for their female
     counterparts. (See table 5.)

   --Seasonally adjusted median weekly earnings were $803 in the second quarter of
     2015, essentially unchanged from the previous quarter ($802). (See table 1.)




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

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

2nd Quarter

108,574 60,397 48,177 803 890 726 341 378 308

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
2nd
2014
2nd
2015
In current dollars In constant (1982-84) dollars
2nd
2014
2nd
2015
2nd
2014
2nd
2015

SEX AND AGE

Total, 16 years and over

106,555 108,769 $780 $801 $328 $337

Men, 16 years and over

59,714 60,638 857 886 360 373

16 to 24 years

5,663 5,335 481 497 202 209

25 years and over

54,052 55,303 914 942 384 396

Women, 16 years and over

46,840 48,131 716 726 301 305

16 to 24 years

4,195 4,313 449 444 189 187

25 years and over

42,645 43,818 750 759 316 319

RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX

White

84,544 85,383 802 829 337 349

Men

48,509 48,785 884 914 372 385

Women

36,035 36,598 725 742 305 312

Black or African American

12,736 13,566 649 647 273 272

Men

6,056 6,442 667 696 280 293

Women

6,680 7,124 631 615 265 259

Asian

6,320 6,608 954 965 401 406

Men

3,512 3,612 1,139 1,085 479 457

Women

2,807 2,996 855 836 360 352

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

17,599 18,240 583 601 245 253

Men

10,840 11,102 609 619 256 260

Women

6,759 7,138 532 572 224 241

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 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

108,769 $801 60,638 $886 48,131 $726

16 to 24 years

9,647 476 5,335 497 4,313 444

16 to 19 years

1,083 376 609 382 474 366

20 to 24 years

8,565 489 4,726 510 3,839 459

25 years and over

99,121 852 55,303 942 43,818 759

25 to 54 years

77,076 835 43,315 918 33,761 753

25 to 34 years

26,569 721 15,200 752 11,369 675

35 to 44 years

24,836 896 14,053 985 10,783 792

45 to 54 years

25,671 925 14,062 1,058 11,609 797

55 years and over

22,045 916 11,988 1,032 10,057 782

55 to 64 years

17,965 925 9,691 1,037 8,274 794

65 years and over

4,080 883 2,297 1,003 1,783 743

White

16 years and over

85,383 829 48,785 914 36,598 742

16 to 24 years

7,552 488 4,295 507 3,256 457

25 years and over

77,831 878 44,490 969 33,341 774

25 to 54 years

59,685 858 34,332 943 25,352 768

55 years and over

18,146 953 10,157 1,080 7,989 811

Black or African American

16 years and over

13,566 647 6,442 696 7,124 615

16 to 24 years

1,290 407 580 417 710 399

25 years and over

12,276 691 5,862 732 6,414 654

25 to 54 years

9,905 683 4,754 726 5,151 647

55 years and over

2,371 725 1,108 756 1,263 680

Asian

16 years and over

6,608 965 3,612 1,085 2,996 836

16 to 24 years

344 544 195 602 149 511

25 years and over

6,264 989 3,417 1,109 2,847 863

25 to 54 years

5,118 1,005 2,884 1,121 2,234 871

55 years and over

1,146 902 533 1,034 613 838

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

16 years and over

18,240 601 11,102 619 7,138 572

16 to 24 years

2,148 444 1,276 459 872 430

25 years and over

16,092 623 9,826 654 6,266 597

25 to 54 years

13,866 620 8,501 646 5,365 594

55 years and over

2,226 659 1,324 711 901 615

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
2014
2nd
2015
2nd
2014
2nd
2015

TOTAL

Management, professional, and related occupations

43,003 44,819 $1,135 $1,147

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

17,424 18,400 1,200 1,243

Professional and related occupations

25,578 26,420 1,078 1,097

Service occupations

15,051 15,313 500 506

Sales and office occupations

23,543 23,601 667 668

Sales and related occupations

9,854 9,724 683 688

Office and administrative support occupations

13,689 13,876 659 661

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

10,726 10,604 740 750

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

749 778 454 440

Construction and extraction occupations

5,827 5,664 728 741

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

4,149 4,162 815 835

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

14,232 14,431 629 653

Production occupations

7,245 7,525 632 666

Transportation and material moving occupations

6,987 6,906 625 634

Men

Management, professional, and related occupations

20,887 21,899 1,343 1,357

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

9,335 10,126 1,391 1,401

Professional and related occupations

11,552 11,773 1,299 1,319

Service occupations

7,820 7,732 580 587

Sales and office occupations

9,200 9,395 759 765

Sales and related occupations

5,448 5,373 806 864

Office and administrative support occupations

3,752 4,023 714 683

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

10,360 10,194 748 761

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

605 607 499 448

Construction and extraction occupations

5,736 5,531 729 742

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

4,020 4,056 820 838

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

11,447 11,418 677 702

Production occupations

5,347 5,508 699 734

Transportation and material moving occupations

6,100 5,909 646 663

Women

Management, professional, and related occupations

22,116 22,920 969 987

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

8,090 8,274 1,038 1,064

Professional and related occupations

14,026 14,647 935 953

Service occupations

7,231 7,582 452 457

Sales and office occupations

14,342 14,205 623 632

Sales and related occupations

4,406 4,352 561 556

Office and administrative support occupations

9,937 9,853 646 655

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

366 410 460 507

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

145 172 345 427

Construction and extraction occupations

92 133 699 700

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

130 106 637 603

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

2,785 3,013 497 524

Production occupations

1,898 2,017 491 524

Transportation and material moving occupations

887 996 528 524

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 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

108,769 $384 $524 $801 $1,270 $1,920

Men

60,638 402 577 886 1,414 2,190

Women

48,131 364 491 726 1,108 1,656

White

85,383 394 549 829 1,313 1,977

Men

48,785 412 591 914 1,447 2,253

Women

36,598 374 506 742 1,128 1,662

Black or African American

13,566 340 444 647 997 1,527

Men

6,442 355 479 696 1,073 1,564

Women

7,124 332 422 615 936 1,459

Asian

6,608 402 582 965 1,538 2,322

Men

3,612 415 613 1,085 1,752 2,577

Women

2,996 387 531 836 1,339 1,991

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

18,240 341 424 601 918 1,425

Men

11,102 358 451 619 967 1,516

Women

7,138 318 405 572 848 1,284

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT

Total, 25 years and over

99,121 403 575 852 1,341 1,999

Less than a high school diploma

7,648 310 384 499 677 957

High school graduates, no college(1)

25,392 376 491 678 979 1,380

Some college or associate degree

26,938 395 535 757 1,128 1,605

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

39,144 593 830 1,210 1,846 2,617

Bachelor's degree only

24,626 556 762 1,130 1,671 2,390

Advanced degree

14,518 689 948 1,377 2,025 3,013

Men, 25 years and over

55,303 425 609 942 1,477 2,290

Less than a high school diploma

5,200 341 408 522 747 1,037

High school graduates, no college(1)

15,631 401 538 758 1,087 1,512

Some college or associate degree

14,134 428 605 885 1,281 1,850

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

20,339 633 930 1,397 2,076 3,005

Bachelor's degree only

12,941 602 855 1,292 1,902 2,763

Advanced degree

7,397 737 1,085 1,571 2,404 3,779

Women, 25 years and over

43,818 381 519 759 1,151 1,727

Less than a high school diploma

2,448 279 333 420 560 708

High school graduates, no college(1)

9,762 341 429 593 791 1,086

Some college or associate degree

12,804 373 488 664 930 1,330

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

18,805 555 754 1,051 1,531 2,103

Bachelor's degree only

11,684 511 703 970 1,431 1,926

Advanced degree

7,121 650 875 1,193 1,711 2,412

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
2014
2nd
2015
2nd
2014
2nd
2015

SEX AND AGE

Total, 16 years and over

24,946 24,825 $240 $244

Men, 16 years and over

8,267 8,564 236 231

16 to 24 years

3,526 3,933 193 188

25 years and over

4,741 4,630 276 291

Women, 16 years and over

16,679 16,261 242 250

16 to 24 years

4,766 4,771 178 192

25 years and over

11,913 11,491 273 281

RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX

White

19,573 19,513 245 247

Men

6,231 6,601 239 232

Women

13,341 12,912 247 254

Black or African American

3,073 3,013 217 226

Men

1,159 1,153 220 219

Women

1,914 1,860 216 230

Asian

1,327 1,275 235 250

Men

486 455 231 243

Women

841 820 237 253

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

3,992 4,097 234 232

Men

1,498 1,472 250 241

Women

2,493 2,625 226 227

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 21, 2015
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