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Summer 2007 Vol. 51, Number 2

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

by
Elka Maria Torpey


 

CES survey: Monthly industry wages

If you want monthly earnings for any one of about 850 detailed private-sector industries, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey might be what you’re looking for. This survey provides average hourly and weekly earnings from the payrolls of business establishments. It does not collect data by occupation.

These data show, for example, that the average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers in the durable goods manufacturing industry were $18.12 in April 2007, after being seasonally adjusted.

CES data are comparable from month to month. So, for example, if you want to see whether earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers in the leisure and hospitality industry have been increasing, you would look to this survey. Its data would show that seasonally adjusted average weekly earnings increased from $247.30 to $263.42 between April 2006 and April 2007. Monthly data like these are often used when writing escalation clauses, the terms in employment contracts that link increases in base pay with increases in average pay for the broader market.

In addition to national data, earnings for manufacturing and natural resources and mining industries also are available by State and for many metropolitan areas and divisions.

Limitations. The CES does not collect occupational earnings data. And the industry earnings data it collects primarily cover production and nonsupervisory workers. For example, when CES data show that seasonally adjusted, average hourly earnings in the retail trade industry were $12.75 in April 2007, this includes nonsupervisory workers, such as retail sales workers, but does not include supervisory workers, such as retail sales worker supervisors. In the future, however, the CES program might collect earnings data for all employees.

Also excluded from the survey are earnings data from government establishments and all data from agricultural establishments.

Get the data. These data are available in monthly press releases, from an online form-based query system, and in the BLS periodical Employment and Earnings. Additional information may be available from the program office:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Division of Current Employment Statistics
Suite 4860
2 Massachusetts Ave. NE.
Washington, DC 20212
(202) 691-6555
www.bls.gov/ces

 

 

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Last Updated: February 15, 2007