Accessibility information 

OOQ Online banner

Summer 2007 Vol. 51, Number 2

Earnings data from BLS
What we have and how to find it

Elka Maria Torpey


NCS: Wages by job complexity and responsibility level

The National Compensation Survey (NCS) often publishes earnings data for fewer locations and occupations than the OES survey does, but it offers additional detail. For example, data from this survey show how earnings change with workers’ levels of responsibility and expertise.

For each occupation, earnings are given by work level, which takes into account factors such as the knowledge required to do the job, the degree of required supervision, and the job’s complexity. According to the survey, for example, a carpenter in Atlanta, Georgia, at the highest work level (level 9) made $27.75 per hour, on average, in July 2004, more than twice the $11.33 per hour for a carpenter at the lowest work level (level 1).

The NCS shows hourly and weekly mean, median, and percentile earnings. It offers national and regional data and data by local metropolitan area and county.

The survey also gives earnings data by major industry division and by the size of the employing establishment. And the survey gives separate earnings figures for workers who are full time and those who are part time, for those who belong to unions and those who don’t, for workers’ time and incentive pay status, and for workers employed by State and local governments and those employed by private establishments.

Limitations. The NCS publishes data on fewer occupations and industries than some other BLS programs because it surveys fewer establishments each year. Recent data are not always available for every occupation and work level.

Data are not available for all occupations in all geographic areas, either. For example, although data are available for carpenters in Atlanta, Georgia, data are not available for carpenters in Savannah. And there are no data on self-employed workers.

Get the data. Survey results are available in printed and online bulletins and from a form-based query system. Users can also download FTP files for use in statistical programs.

For more information, contact:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Office of Compensation and Working Conditions
Survey Publications, Suite 4175
2 Massachusetts Ave. NE.
Washington, DC 20212
(202) 691-6199



1   |   2 3  |  4  |  5  Next >>  


How to best view PDF files Download the PDF (766K) of the entire article.



BLS homepage  DOL hompage
Last Updated: February 15, 2007