August 31, 2004
The inflation-adjusted earnings of persons born from 1957 to 1964 increased most rapidly when they were young.
From the ages of 18 to 22, hourly wages of persons born in this time frame grew by an average of 6.7 percent. The earnings growth rate slowed to 5.0 percent annually from age 23 to 27, then to 2.7 percent annually from age 28 to age 32. From ages 33 to 38, however, average annual wage growth rose to 3.3 percent.
This pattern in earnings growth reflects, in part, the state of the U.S. economy during the years in which survey participants were in each age group. Also, in every age category, growth rates in inflation-adjusted hourly earnings generally were higher for workers with more education.
These findings are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. For more information see "Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth Among Younger Baby Boomers: Recent Results From a Longitudinal Survey" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 04-1678.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Earnings growth among younger baby boomers on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2004/aug/wk5/art02.htm (visited November 25, 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.