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Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity, 2008


  • Although blacks and Hispanics have attained higher levels of education and have moved into higher paying occupations, they still have considerably lower earnings than Asians or whites. In 2008, the median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers were $589 for blacks and $529 for Hispanics, compared with $861 for Asians and $742 for whites. The earnings of black men ($620) and Hispanic men ($559) were 75 and 68 percent, respectively, of the earnings of white men ($825). The earnings of black women ($554) were 85 percent of the earnings of white women ($654), a higher ratio than among black and white men. Median earnings for Hispanic women were $501, about 77 percent of white women’s earnings. (See tables 14 and 15.)
  • For men, the earnings disparity between black or Hispanic workers and Asian or white workers holds steady across all major occupational groups. For example, in 2008, median usual weekly earnings of Asian men ($1,403) and white men ($1,255) working full time in management, professional, and related occupations were well above the earnings of Hispanic men ($1,002) and black men ($892) in the same occupations. This disparity is evident toward the other end of the earnings spectrum as well; Hispanic and black men employed in production, transportation, and material moving occupations had median earnings of $514 and $559 per week, respectively, which were less than the median earnings of their white ($658) or Asian ($585) counterparts. (See table 16.)
  • Among women, the earnings gap is generally smaller than that for men, and, in some major occupational categories, earnings levels are fairly close. In management, professional, and related occupations, for example, the earnings of black women ($763) and Hispanic women ($775) were around 85 percent of those of white women ($900). In most occupational categories, Asian women had the highest earnings.


Last Modified Date: December 4, 2009