Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, October 18, 2012          USDL-12-2072

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
                                THIRD QUARTER 2012


Median weekly earnings of the nation's 103.6 million full-time wage and
salary workers were $758 in the third quarter of 2012 (not seasonally 
adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was
0.7 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.7 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 third-quarter data are:

   --Seasonally adjusted median weekly earnings were $765 in the third
     quarter of 2012, little changed from the previous quarter ($773).
     (See table 1.)

   --On a not seasonally adjusted basis, median weekly earnings were
     $758 in the third quarter of 2012. Women who usually worked full
     time had median weekly earnings of $685, or 82.7 percent of the
     $828 median for men. (See table 2.)

   --The female-to-male earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity.
     White women earned 83.4 percent as much as their male counterparts,
     compared with black (93.2 percent), Hispanic (87.5 percent), and
     Asian women (73.1 percent). (See table 2.)

   --Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median weekly earnings
     for black men working at full-time jobs were $633 per week, or 
     74.1 percent of the median for white men ($854). The difference
     was less among women, as black women's median earnings ($590) 
     were 82.9 percent of those for white women ($712). Overall,
     median earnings of Hispanics who worked full time ($556) were
     lower than those of blacks ($606), whites ($780), and Asians
     ($915). (See table 2.)

   --Usual weekly earnings of full-time workers varied by age. Among
     men, those age 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 had the highest median
     weekly earnings, $976 and $980, respectively. Usual weekly
     earnings were highest for women age 35 to 64; weekly earnings
     were $740 for women age 35 to 44, $754 for women age 45 to 54,
     and $766 for women age 55 to 64. Workers age 16 to 24 had the
     lowest median weekly earnings, at $437. (See table 3.)

   --Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time
     in management, professional, and related occupations had the
     highest median weekly earnings--$1,300 for men and $948 for women.
     Men and women employed in service jobs earned the least, $530 and
     $440, respectively. (See table 4.)

   --By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over
     without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $464,
     compared with $648 for high school graduates (no college) and
     $1,170 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 $3,448 or more per week, compared with $2,311 or more for
     their female counterparts. (See table 5.)


 __________________________________________________________________________
|                                                                          |
|       Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Usual Weekly Earnings Data         |
|                                                                          | 
|The Usual Weekly Earnings news release for the fourth quarter of 2012 will|
|incorporate annual revisions to seasonally adjusted data for the number of|
|full-time wage and salary workers and median weekly earnings in current   |
|dollars. (See table 1.) Estimates for constant (1982-84) dollar median    |
|weekly earnings also will be affected by revisions to the current dollar  |
|series. Seasonally adjusted estimates back to the first quarter of 2008   |
|will be 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 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. 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

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

2nd Quarter

102,490 57,104 45,386 773 865 688 338 378 301

3rd Quarter

102,533 57,170 45,362 765 837 693 332 364 301

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
3rd
2011
3rd
2012
In current dollars In constant (1982-84) dollars
3rd
2011
3rd
2012
3rd
2011
3rd
2012

SEX AND AGE

Total, 16 years and over

101,447 103,577 $753 $758 $332 $329

Men, 16 years and over

56,900 58,069 827 828 365 359

16 to 24 years

5,433 5,576 440 459 195 199

25 years and over

51,466 52,493 888 891 392 387

Women, 16 years and over

44,548 45,508 673 685 297 298

16 to 24 years

3,957 4,036 422 414 186 180

25 years and over

40,591 41,472 713 725 315 315

RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX

White

82,357 82,259 772 780 341 339

Men

47,275 47,292 847 854 374 371

Women

35,082 34,967 699 712 308 309

Black or African American

11,633 12,340 616 606 272 263

Men

5,420 5,771 661 633 292 275

Women

6,213 6,569 596 590 263 256

Asian

5,116 5,986 869 915 384 397

Men

2,895 3,338 1,015 1,043 448 453

Women

2,221 2,649 712 762 315 331

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

15,324 16,889 545 556 241 241

Men

9,627 10,110 562 586 248 255

Women

5,697 6,779 522 513 231 223

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, 3rd 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

103,577 $758 58,069 $828 45,508 $685

16 to 24 years

9,612 437 5,576 459 4,036 414

16 to 19 years

1,290 347 793 360 497 325

20 to 24 years

8,322 461 4,783 480 3,539 429

25 years and over

93,965 803 52,493 891 41,472 725

25 to 54 years

74,365 790 41,848 873 32,517 715

25 to 34 years

24,801 689 14,138 720 10,662 648

35 to 44 years

24,078 843 13,736 944 10,342 740

45 to 54 years

25,486 871 13,973 976 11,512 754

55 years and over

19,600 863 10,645 960 8,956 755

55 to 64 years

16,348 887 8,815 980 7,533 766

65 years and over

3,252 761 1,830 824 1,423 673

White

16 years and over

82,259 780 47,292 854 34,967 712

16 to 24 years

7,609 447 4,505 470 3,104 418

25 years and over

74,650 831 42,787 911 31,863 746

25 to 54 years

58,273 816 33,753 892 24,520 737

55 years and over

16,376 890 9,034 990 7,343 774

Black or African American

16 years and over

12,340 606 5,771 633 6,569 590

16 to 24 years

1,198 399 617 408 581 390

25 years and over

11,142 633 5,154 674 5,988 610

25 to 54 years

9,187 625 4,243 655 4,944 609

55 years and over

1,955 681 911 779 1,044 613

Asian

16 years and over

5,986 915 3,338 1,043 2,649 762

16 to 24 years

357 495 194 472 163 513

25 years and over

5,629 958 3,144 1,130 2,486 787

25 to 54 years

4,648 979 2,615 1,149 2,033 805

55 years and over

981 805 528 981 453 699

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

16 years and over

16,889 556 10,110 586 6,779 513

16 to 24 years

2,263 402 1,376 415 887 382

25 years and over

14,626 591 8,734 616 5,892 540

25 to 54 years

12,830 586 7,687 610 5,143 537

55 years and over

1,796 622 1,047 665 749 583

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
3rd
2011
3rd
2012
3rd
2011
3rd
2012

TOTAL

Management, professional, and related occupations

40,029 41,105 $1,092 $1,098

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

16,429 17,266 1,174 1,159

Professional and related occupations

23,600 23,839 1,032 1,056

Service occupations

14,776 15,540 474 487

Sales and office occupations

23,051 22,726 625 645

Sales and related occupations

9,376 9,251 658 667

Office and administrative support occupations

13,675 13,475 616 637

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

10,342 10,135 722 728

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

869 943 437 417

Construction and extraction occupations

5,224 5,090 715 723

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

4,249 4,102 787 811

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

13,250 14,072 611 615

Production occupations

6,867 7,310 609 621

Transportation and material moving occupations

6,383 6,762 614 608

Men

Management, professional, and related occupations

19,507 20,168 1,267 1,300

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

8,745 9,142 1,372 1,368

Professional and related occupations

10,762 11,026 1,199 1,259

Service occupations

7,535 7,980 528 530

Sales and office occupations

9,253 8,889 737 751

Sales and related occupations

5,295 5,253 835 825

Office and administrative support occupations

3,958 3,636 677 685

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

9,927 9,720 730 737

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

685 748 463 439

Construction and extraction occupations

5,132 4,998 717 723

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

4,110 3,973 786 812

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

10,678 11,312 645 657

Production occupations

5,048 5,422 672 680

Transportation and material moving occupations

5,631 5,890 624 626

Women

Management, professional, and related occupations

20,522 20,937 946 948

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

7,684 8,124 980 983

Professional and related occupations

12,838 12,813 927 928

Service occupations

7,241 7,560 427 440

Sales and office occupations

13,798 13,836 592 607

Sales and related occupations

4,081 3,998 521 543

Office and administrative support occupations

9,717 9,838 606 624

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

415 415 503 501

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

184 195 362 369

Construction and extraction occupations

92 92 574 724

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

139 129 865 760

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

2,571 2,759 491 494

Production occupations

1,819 1,888 489 502

Transportation and material moving occupations

752 872 498 479

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, 3rd 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

103,577 $355 $499 $758 $1,198 $1,862

Men

58,069 377 526 828 1,335 2,010

Women

45,508 335 469 685 1,042 1,567

White

82,259 366 514 780 1,228 1,884

Men

47,292 386 557 854 1,358 2,051

Women

34,967 341 482 712 1,071 1,590

Black or African American

12,340 320 422 606 941 1,401

Men

5,771 321 444 633 998 1,422

Women

6,569 319 412 590 886 1,372

Asian

5,986 374 527 915 1,537 2,305

Men

3,338 394 587 1,043 1,760 2,589

Women

2,649 341 499 762 1,305 1,898

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

16,889 303 384 556 830 1,255

Men

10,110 313 400 586 876 1,266

Women

6,779 291 361 513 764 1,242

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT

Total, 25 years and over

93,965 381 531 803 1,254 1,898

Less than a high school diploma

7,139 285 347 464 643 889

High school graduates, no college(1)

25,628 346 463 648 934 1,292

Some college or associate degree

25,709 390 521 736 1,067 1,494

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

35,490 558 779 1,170 1,769 2,536

Bachelor's degree only

22,783 511 725 1,071 1,600 2,302

Advanced degree

12,707 661 943 1,381 2,006 2,918

Men, 25 years and over

52,493 402 584 891 1,396 2,106

Less than a high school diploma

4,900 296 379 503 697 980

High school graduates, no college(1)

15,217 376 505 726 1,029 1,417

Some college or associate degree

13,605 429 587 822 1,185 1,622

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

18,771 602 897 1,366 1,990 2,913

Bachelor's degree only

12,089 562 803 1,244 1,859 2,690

Advanced degree

6,683 754 1,100 1,626 2,384 3,448

Women, 25 years and over

41,472 355 494 725 1,094 1,620

Less than a high school diploma

2,239 264 318 381 517 680

High school graduates, no college(1)

10,411 318 411 571 778 1,068

Some college or associate degree

12,104 360 483 653 913 1,273

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

16,718 515 715 1,004 1,474 2,072

Bachelor's degree only

10,694 487 655 939 1,358 1,890

Advanced degree

6,024 626 844 1,155 1,717 2,311

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
3rd
2011
3rd
2012
3rd
2011
3rd
2012

SEX AND AGE

Total, 16 years and over

24,103 24,086 $237 $240

Men, 16 years and over

8,463 8,319 233 238

16 to 24 years

3,598 3,589 186 196

25 years and over

4,865 4,730 294 278

Women, 16 years and over

15,641 15,767 239 241

16 to 24 years

4,476 4,727 181 180

25 years and over

11,165 11,039 275 283

RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX

White

19,858 19,577 238 243

Men

6,763 6,652 235 239

Women

13,095 12,925 240 246

Black or African American

2,585 2,530 220 226

Men

1,036 945 214 235

Women

1,549 1,585 224 220

Asian

950 1,145 271 251

Men

383 403 274 239

Women

567 742 269 255

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

3,484 3,583 239 230

Men

1,412 1,446 246 245

Women

2,072 2,137 236 218

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: October 18, 2012