Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, April 17, 2012                     USDL-12-0715

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 2012


Median weekly earnings of the nation's 100.8 million full-time wage and salary
workers were $769 in the first quarter of 2012 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was 1.9 percent higher than a year
earlier, compared with a gain of 2.8 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 release are not seasonally adjusted unless otherwise specified.
Highlights from the first-quarter data are:

   -- Seasonally adjusted median weekly earnings were $763 in the first quarter
      of 2012, about unchanged from the previous quarter ($762). (See table 1.)

   -- On a not seasonally adjusted basis, median weekly earnings were $769 in the
      first quarter of 2012. Women who usually worked full time had median weekly
      earnings of $697, or 82.2 percent of the $848 median for men. (See table 2.)

   -- The female-to-male earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White women
      earned 81.6 percent as much as their male counterparts, compared with black
      (88.9 percent), Asian (80.8 percent), and Hispanic women (89.9 percent).
      (See table 2.)

   -- Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median weekly earnings for black
      men working at full-time jobs were $677, or 77.5 percent of the median for
      white men ($874). The difference was less among women, as black women's
      median weekly earnings ($602) were 84.4 percent of those for white women
      ($713). Overall, median weekly earnings of Hispanics who worked full time
      ($567) were lower than those of blacks ($635), whites ($793), and Asians
      ($918). (See table 2.)

   -- Usual weekly earnings of full-time workers varied by age. Among both men
      and women, median weekly earnings tend to be higher in the older age groups.
      Men between the ages of 45 to 54 had median weekly earnings of $998, about
      the same as the median for men age 55 to 64 ($992). Usual weekly earnings were
      highest for women age 35 to 64; weekly earnings were $756 for women age 35 to
      44, $748 for women age 45 to 54, and $779 for women age 55 to 64. Workers age
      16 to 24 had the lowest median weekly earnings, at $448. (See table 3.)

   -- Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in
      management, professional, and related occupations had the highest median
      weekly earnings--$1,309 for men and $959 for women. Men and women employed
      in service jobs earned the least, $563 and $450, respectively. (See table 4.)

   -- By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without a high
      school diploma had median weekly earnings of $450, compared with $653 for
      high school graduates (no college) and $1,158 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 $3,366 or more per week, compared with $2,284 or more for their female
      counterparts. (See table 5.)

    ____________________________________________________________________________
   |                                                                            |
   |           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 2007 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 households, 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 wage and salary workers (both
incorporated and unincorporated self-employed are excluded). The data, there-
fore, 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 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 exact difference, or sampling error, varies depending on
the particular sample selected, and this variability is measured by the stan-
dard 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 popu-
lation, 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.

   A full discussion of the reliability of data from the Current Population
Survey and information on estimating standard errors is available on the BLS
website www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#reliability.

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 equi-
valent. The term "usual" is as perceived by the respondent. 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 amount that 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 estimation procedure places each reported or calculated weekly earnings value
into $50-wide intervals that 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 relative 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 year olds 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, or $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, 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, 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 (1982-84) 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.

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 season-
ally 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 sea-
sonal 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
$

2003

1st Quarter

100,136 56,079 44,057 615 689 546 335 376 297

2nd Quarter

100,255 56,013 44,242 619 692 551 338 378 301

3rd Quarter

100,139 56,178 43,961 621 697 554 337 378 300

4th Quarter

100,628 56,607 44,021 623 702 560 337 379 302

2004

1st Quarter

100,905 56,848 44,057 629 705 562 337 378 301

2nd Quarter

101,135 56,914 44,221 642 715 576 341 380 306

3rd Quarter

101,148 56,931 44,217 635 712 574 335 376 303

4th Quarter

101,658 57,289 44,369 646 720 577 337 376 302

2005

1st Quarter

102,091 57,710 44,381 647 723 580 336 376 302

2nd Quarter

103,201 58,099 45,101 647 714 584 334 369 301

3rd Quarter

104,310 58,843 45,467 651 723 588 331 368 299

4th Quarter

104,605 58,967 45,638 658 730 588 332 368 296

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

107,819 60,401 47,418 713 783 633 335 368 298

2nd Quarter

107,051 59,581 47,469 722 801 636 335 372 295

3rd Quarter

106,114 59,259 46,856 724 802 637 331 367 291

4th Quarter

105,585 58,499 47,087 727 807 647 340 377 302

2009

1st Quarter

101,734 56,339 45,395 731 815 645 344 384 304

2nd Quarter

100,002 55,226 44,776 737 816 652 345 382 306

3rd Quarter

99,004 54,451 44,553 742 820 664 345 381 308

4th Quarter

98,535 54,405 44,130 747 824 666 344 380 307

2010

1st Quarter

98,223 54,156 44,067 747 836 662 344 384 305

2nd Quarter

99,621 55,030 44,591 743 812 671 342 374 309

3rd Quarter

100,333 55,569 44,765 745 821 670 342 377 307

4th Quarter

99,927 55,468 44,459 751 828 675 342 377 307

2011

1st Quarter

99,788 55,407 44,380 749 820 680 337 369 306

2nd Quarter

100,377 55,839 44,539 756 828 688 337 369 306

3rd Quarter

100,369 55,981 44,388 758 835 681 335 369 301

4th Quarter

101,294 56,652 44,642 762 841 685 336 371 302

2012

1st Quarter

102,223 57,162 45,061 763 841 694 334 368 304

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
2011
1st
2012
In current dollars In constant (1982-84) dollars
1st
2011
1st
2012
1st
2011
1st
2012

SEX AND AGE

Total, 16 years and over

98,329 100,830 $755 $769 $341 $337

Men, 16 years and over

54,251 56,022 829 848 374 372

16 to 24 years

4,418 4,786 470 469 212 206

25 years and over

49,834 51,236 880 904 397 396

Women, 16 years and over

44,077 44,808 683 697 308 306

16 to 24 years

3,685 3,614 426 421 192 185

25 years and over

40,392 41,194 716 731 323 321

RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX

White

79,349 80,278 774 793 349 348

Men

44,712 45,755 856 874 386 383

Women

34,636 34,523 699 713 316 313

Black or African American

11,453 11,935 604 635 272 278

Men

5,324 5,626 621 677 280 297

Women

6,129 6,309 590 602 266 264

Asian

5,219 5,778 831 918 375 403

Men

2,952 3,099 948 1,027 428 451

Women

2,267 2,679 762 830 344 364

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

14,572 15,776 549 567 248 249

Men

8,973 9,577 570 584 257 256

Women

5,599 6,199 515 525 232 230

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 2012 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

100,830 $769 56,022 $848 44,808 $697

16 to 24 years

8,400 448 4,786 469 3,614 421

16 to 19 years

851 362 485 376 366 347

20 to 24 years

7,548 463 4,301 482 3,248 435

25 years and over

92,430 815 51,236 904 41,194 731

25 to 54 years

72,999 801 40,763 882 32,236 723

25 to 34 years

24,017 702 13,465 732 10,553 671

35 to 44 years

23,876 855 13,574 944 10,302 756

45 to 54 years

25,105 880 13,724 998 11,382 748

55 years and over

19,431 872 10,473 980 8,958 761

55 to 64 years

16,319 895 8,689 992 7,630 779

65 years and over

3,113 768 1,784 925 1,329 656

White

16 years and over

80,278 793 45,755 874 34,523 713

16 to 24 years

6,592 454 3,834 474 2,758 420

25 years and over

73,686 840 41,920 928 31,765 746

25 to 54 years

57,553 826 33,050 903 24,503 736

55 years and over

16,132 913 8,870 1,012 7,262 782

Black or African American

16 years and over

11,935 635 5,626 677 6,309 602

16 to 24 years

1,106 397 525 401 580 392

25 years and over

10,830 667 5,101 715 5,729 625

25 to 54 years

8,786 665 4,162 714 4,624 621

55 years and over

2,044 677 939 722 1,105 648

Asian

16 years and over

5,778 918 3,099 1,027 2,679 830

16 to 24 years

315 498 183 530 132 468

25 years and over

5,462 955 2,916 1,113 2,547 856

25 to 54 years

4,516 985 2,429 1,145 2,087 893

55 years and over

946 825 487 987 460 701

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

16 years and over

15,776 567 9,577 584 6,199 525

16 to 24 years

1,842 410 1,175 416 667 399

25 years and over

13,934 592 8,402 605 5,532 566

25 to 54 years

12,293 591 7,457 603 4,836 571

55 years and over

1,641 596 945 619 696 546

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
2011
1st
2012
1st
2011
1st
2012

TOTAL

Management, professional, and related occupations

39,034 40,290 $1,072 $1,107

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

15,433 16,676 1,152 1,173

Professional and related occupations

23,600 23,614 1,031 1,050

Service occupations

13,830 14,339 483 491

Sales and office occupations

22,918 22,842 640 654

Sales and related occupations

9,209 9,388 674 698

Office and administrative support occupations

13,709 13,454 624 638

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

9,499 9,883 732 742

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

764 716 427 420

Construction and extraction occupations

4,706 5,042 707 727

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

4,029 4,125 821 815

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

13,048 13,475 608 619

Production occupations

7,037 7,335 599 627

Transportation and material moving occupations

6,011 6,140 621 611

Men

Management, professional, and related occupations

18,767 19,378 1,266 1,309

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

8,263 8,913 1,368 1,407

Professional and related occupations

10,504 10,465 1,222 1,242

Service occupations

6,953 7,336 565 563

Sales and office occupations

8,878 9,066 736 766

Sales and related occupations

5,191 5,284 808 847

Office and administrative support occupations

3,687 3,782 640 687

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

9,109 9,499 743 749

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

601 565 453 438

Construction and extraction occupations

4,602 4,938 710 724

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

3,905 3,996 823 818

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

10,544 10,744 653 667

Production occupations

5,239 5,446 655 694

Transportation and material moving occupations

5,305 5,297 650 640

Women

Management, professional, and related occupations

20,267 20,912 939 959

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

7,171 7,763 987 1,026

Professional and related occupations

13,096 13,149 915 924

Service occupations

6,877 7,004 431 450

Sales and office occupations

14,040 13,776 607 608

Sales and related occupations

4,018 4,104 549 550

Office and administrative support occupations

10,022 9,672 621 622

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

390 384 446 561

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

162 152 365 380

Construction and extraction occupations

104 103 490 929

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

124 129 744 673

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

2,504 2,732 491 483

Production occupations

1,798 1,889 488 476

Transportation and material moving occupations

705 843 499 492

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 2012 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

100,830 $360 $507 $769 $1,208 $1,858

Men

56,022 381 550 848 1,356 1,995

Women

44,808 338 474 697 1,048 1,547

White

80,278 367 520 793 1,237 1,881

Men

45,755 387 572 874 1,379 2,020

Women

34,523 343 484 713 1,072 1,563

Black or African American

11,935 333 439 635 938 1,433

Men

5,626 343 463 677 1,015 1,568

Women

6,309 325 424 602 859 1,290

Asian

5,778 379 540 918 1,490 2,114

Men

3,099 397 599 1,027 1,639 2,312

Women

2,679 347 494 830 1,295 1,889

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

15,776 305 391 567 834 1,279

Men

9,577 316 403 584 869 1,395

Women

6,199 294 372 525 781 1,137

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT

Total, 25 years and over

92,430 382 541 815 1,257 1,892

Less than a high school diploma

6,850 287 346 450 614 857

High school graduates, no college(1)

24,865 347 469 653 939 1,316

Some college or associate degree

25,525 391 533 754 1,096 1,522

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

35,190 564 784 1,158 1,760 2,580

Bachelor's degree only

22,281 514 733 1,051 1,571 2,310

Advanced degree

12,909 663 926 1,367 1,981 2,911

Men, 25 years and over

51,236 404 593 904 1,416 2,080

Less than a high school diploma

4,660 304 375 494 675 971

High school graduates, no college(1)

14,773 387 519 733 1,054 1,464

Some college or associate degree

13,468 414 596 854 1,237 1,702

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

18,334 623 893 1,356 1,982 2,929

Bachelor's degree only

11,703 587 823 1,212 1,857 2,696

Advanced degree

6,631 745 1,075 1,596 2,360 3,366

Women, 25 years and over

41,194 356 496 731 1,094 1,589

Less than a high school diploma

2,190 258 307 380 499 630

High school graduates, no college(1)

10,091 313 404 565 765 1,033

Some college or associate degree

12,057 376 492 668 938 1,272

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

16,856 507 721 1,008 1,447 2,021

Bachelor's degree only

10,577 478 658 928 1,325 1,882

Advanced degree

6,278 620 835 1,172 1,670 2,284

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
2011
1st
2012
1st
2011
1st
2012

SEX AND AGE

Total, 16 years and over

24,947 25,150 $231 $229

Men, 16 years and over

8,846 8,600 224 221

16 to 24 years

3,763 3,605 167 170

25 years and over

5,083 4,995 284 265

Women, 16 years and over

16,101 16,550 234 234

16 to 24 years

4,364 4,778 165 166

25 years and over

11,737 11,772 269 265

RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX

White

20,639 20,365 232 229

Men

7,267 6,879 225 222

Women

13,372 13,486 236 233

Black or African American

2,637 2,834 227 219

Men

972 1,026 225 209

Women

1,665 1,807 229 225

Asian

922 1,214 217 245

Men

323 430 223 227

Women

599 784 212 255

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

3,721 3,904 223 229

Men

1,583 1,596 241 231

Women

2,138 2,309 214 228

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 17, 2012