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February, 1986, Vol. 109, No. 2
Hourly paid workers:
who they are and what they earn
The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes several different data series on the hourly earnings of workers, each highlighting different worker and job-related characteristics. All but one of these series are based on surveys of payroll and other records of business establishments. Data from these series contain considerable industrial detail. In contrast, the remaining earnings series is based on a nationwide sample survey of households, and provides detailed information on hourly earnings by the demographic and social characteristics of the wage earners.1 (See the appendix on page 26.) Moreover, the earnings obtained in the Current Population Survey (CPS) of households represent only hourly wages paid to the employeestripped of any effects of tips, premium pay for overtime, bonuses and commissions. More than half of all wage and salary workers are in this category.
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1 See BLS Measures of Compensation, Bulletin 2239 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1986), for a complete description of all BLS earnings series. Among these are the Current Employment Statistics Survey, Area Wage Surveys, and Industry Wage Surveys.
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