October 25, 2000
Workers in the highest-paid occupation earned on average more than three times as much per hour as those in the lowest paid in 1998.
Mean hourly earnings of workers in executive, administrative, and managerial positions were $28.63 in 1998, compared with $7.85 for those in service occupations.
The second-highest paid occupation in 1998 was professional specialty and technical, with an average of $23.63 per hour. The second-lowest was handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers, with mean hourly earnings of $9.52. In the remaining occupations, hourly earnings averaged between $10 and $20.
These data are from the BLS National Compensation Survey program. In this article, earnings are the straight-time hourly wages or salaries paid to employees in private industry. The mean is computed by totaling the pay of all workers and dividing by the number of workers, weighted by hours. Learn more in "National Compensation Survey: Occupational Wages in the United States, 1998," BLS Bulletin 2529 (PDF 649K).
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Earnings by occupation in 1998 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2000/oct/wk4/art03.htm (visited December 02, 2015).
Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.