Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, October 18, 2017                   USDL-17-1402

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 2017


Median weekly earnings of the nation's 114.9 million full-time wage and salary
workers were $859 in the third quarter of 2017 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was 3.9 percent higher than a year
earlier, compared with a gain of 2.0 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
in this news release.) Data shown in this release are not seasonally adjusted unless
otherwise specified.

Highlights from the third-quarter data:

   --Median weekly earnings of full-time workers were $859 in the third quarter
     of 2017. Women had median weekly earnings of $767, or 81.9 percent of the
     $937 median for men. (See table 2.)

   --The women's-to-men's earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White women 
     earned 82.0 percent as much as their male counterparts, compared with Black women
     (88.4 percent), Asian women (78.6 percent), and Hispanic women (85.5 percent).
     (See table 2.)

   --Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median weekly earnings for Black
     men working at full-time jobs were $744, or 77.1 percent of the median for
     White men ($965). The difference was less among women, as Black women's
     median earnings ($658) were 83.2 percent of those for White women ($791).
     Overall, median earnings of Hispanics who worked full time ($655) were lower
     than those of Blacks ($696), Whites ($887), and Asians ($1,010). (See table 2.)

   --By age, median weekly earnings were highest for men age 55 to 64, at $1,133.
     For women, usual weekly earnings were highest for those age 35 to 64: weekly
     earnings were $857 for women age 35 to 44, $845 for women age 45 to 54, and
     $873 for women age 55 to 64. Men and women age 16 to 24 had the lowest median
     weekly earnings, $527 and $500, respectively. (See table 3.)

   --Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in management,
     professional, and related occupations had the highest median weekly earnings--
     $1,411 for men and $1,058 for women. Men and women employed in service jobs
     earned the least, $610 and $501, respectively. (See table 4.)

   --By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without a high
     school diploma had median weekly earnings of $522, compared with $714 for
     high school graduates (no college) and $1,271 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 $3,499 or more per week, compared with $2,765 or more for their female
     counterparts. (See table 5.)

   --Seasonally adjusted median weekly earnings were $868 in the third quarter of
     2017, little changed from the previous quarter ($863). (See table 1.)


    __________________________________________________________________________
   |                                                                          |
   |        Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Usual Weekly Earnings Data        |
   |                                                                          |
   |The Usual Weekly Earnings news release for the fourth quarter of 2017 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 2013   |
   |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 house-
holds, with coverage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The earnings data
are collected from one-fourth of the CPS monthly sample and are limited to wage and
salary workers. All self-employed workers, both incorporated and unincorporated, are
excluded from CPS earnings estimates.

   Material in this news release is in the public domain and may be used without
permission. This information is available to sensory impaired individuals upon
request. Voice telephone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Definitions

   The principal definitions used in connection with the earnings data in this news
release 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, or 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 equivalent.
The term "usual" is determined by each respondent's own understanding of the term. 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 midpoint in a given earnings distribution, with half of workers
having earnings above the median and the other half 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 BLS procedure for estimating the median of an earnings distribution places each 
reported or calculated weekly earnings value into a $50-wide interval that is centered
around a multiple of $50. The median is calculated through the linear interpolation of 
the interval in which the median lies.

   Changes over time 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 as follows: (1) there
could be a change in the relative weights of the subgroups. For example, the median of
16- to 24-year-olds and the median earnings of those 25 years and over may rise, but if
the lower earning 16-to-24 age 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 change could be caused by survey observations that are clustered at rounded values,
such as $400 or $500. 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.

   Constant dollars. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) is used
to convert current dollars to constant (1982-84) dollars.

   Wage and salary workers. These are 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, it excludes all self-
employed persons, both those with incorporated businesses and those with unincorporated
businesses.

   Full-time workers. For the purpose of producing estimates of earnings, workers who
usually work 35 hours or more per week at their sole or principal job are defined as
working full time.

   Part-time workers. For the purpose of producing estimates of earnings, workers who
usually work fewer than 35 hours per week at their sole or principal job are defined as
working part time.

   Race. In the survey process, race is determined by the household respondent. In
accordance with the Office of Management and Budget guidelines, white, black or African
American, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific 
Islander are terms used to describe a person's race. Estimates for the latter two race
groups and persons who selected more than one race are not included in this release due
to insufficient sample size.

   Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. This refers to people who identified themselves in the
survey process as being of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. People whose ethnicity
is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

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 component of
this difference that occurs because samples differ by chance is known as sampling error,
and its variability is measured by the standard 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 error can occur for
many reasons, including the failure to sample a segment of the population, inability
to obtain information for all respondents in the sample, inability or unwillingness of
respondents to provide correct information, and errors made in the collection or
processing of the data.

   Additional information about the reliability of data from the CPS is available on the
BLS website at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#reliability.

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
seasonally 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 seasonal
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
$

2008

3rd Quarter

106,136 59,273 46,863 724 802 637 331 367 291

4th Quarter

105,617 58,511 47,106 727 806 647 340 377 302

2009

1st Quarter

101,683 56,302 45,381 732 815 645 345 384 304

2nd Quarter

99,996 55,233 44,763 737 818 652 345 383 305

3rd Quarter

99,050 54,481 44,569 742 820 664 345 381 309

4th Quarter

98,555 54,410 44,145 747 823 666 344 379 307

2010

1st Quarter

98,143 54,098 44,045 748 836 662 344 384 304

2nd Quarter

99,605 55,028 44,577 742 814 671 342 374 309

3rd Quarter

100,412 55,620 44,792 746 821 670 342 377 308

4th Quarter

99,958 55,486 44,472 750 826 676 341 376 308

2011

1st Quarter

99,670 55,337 44,333 750 821 679 338 370 306

2nd Quarter

100,347 55,821 44,526 754 830 687 336 370 306

3rd Quarter

100,495 56,046 44,449 760 836 681 336 370 301

4th Quarter

101,337 56,687 44,650 760 838 686 335 369 302

2012

1st Quarter

102,161 57,110 45,051 764 841 693 335 368 303

2nd Quarter

102,525 57,079 45,447 772 870 687 337 380 300

3rd Quarter

102,587 57,207 45,380 766 836 693 333 364 302

4th Quarter

103,748 57,772 45,977 771 868 690 333 375 298

2013

1st Quarter

103,896 57,885 46,011 768 860 699 331 370 301

2nd Quarter

103,976 57,938 46,038 777 866 706 335 373 304

3rd Quarter

104,429 58,099 46,330 779 855 706 334 366 303

4th Quarter

104,784 58,081 46,703 782 862 712 334 368 304

2014

1st Quarter

105,557 58,670 46,888 790 866 715 335 367 304

2nd Quarter

106,387 59,516 46,871 782 861 715 330 364 302

3rd Quarter

106,766 59,573 47,193 799 878 722 336 370 304

4th Quarter

107,413 60,059 47,354 794 876 723 335 370 305

2015

1st Quarter

108,404 60,356 48,048 801 887 723 340 377 307

2nd Quarter

108,630 60,453 48,177 804 891 726 339 376 307

3rd Quarter

109,297 61,017 48,280 811 897 728 341 377 306

4th Quarter

109,997 61,164 48,833 820 901 728 344 379 306

2016

1st Quarter

110,362 61,633 48,730 823 905 743 346 380 312

2nd Quarter

111,029 61,865 49,164 828 914 744 346 382 311

3rd Quarter

111,601 62,128 49,473 835 919 751 347 382 313

4th Quarter

111,361 62,094 49,268 843 922 757 348 380 313

2017

1st Quarter

111,915 62,465 49,450 855 940 759 350 385 311

2nd Quarter

113,129 63,006 50,123 863 938 779 354 385 319

3rd Quarter

113,635 63,201 50,433 868 945 774 354 386 316

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
2016
3rd
2017
In current dollars In constant (1982-84) dollars
3rd
2016
3rd
2017
3rd
2016
3rd
2017

SEX AND AGE

Total, 16 years and over

112,784 114,859 $827 $859 $343 $350

Men, 16 years and over

63,104 64,179 911 937 378 381

16 to 24 years

6,181 6,343 510 527 212 214

25 years and over

56,924 57,836 971 995 403 405

Women, 16 years and over

49,680 50,680 745 767 309 312

16 to 24 years

4,919 4,830 480 500 199 203

25 years and over

44,761 45,850 785 811 326 330

RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX

White

87,781 88,794 854 887 354 361

Men

50,231 50,776 932 965 387 393

Women

37,550 38,018 760 791 316 322

Black or African American

14,210 14,727 685 696 284 283

Men

6,849 7,131 732 744 304 303

Women

7,360 7,596 639 658 265 268

Asian

7,136 7,509 1,010 1,010 419 411

Men

3,961 4,132 1,154 1,147 479 467

Women

3,176 3,377 865 902 359 367

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

19,278 20,091 632 655 262 267

Men

11,892 12,183 667 698 277 284

Women

7,385 7,908 593 597 246 243

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 2017 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

114,859 $859 64,179 $937 50,680 $767

16 to 24 years

11,173 514 6,343 527 4,830 500

16 to 19 years

1,774 417 995 437 780 403

20 to 24 years

9,399 537 5,348 554 4,051 520

25 years and over

103,686 909 57,836 995 45,850 811

25 to 54 years

79,847 890 44,586 969 35,261 797

25 to 34 years

28,504 778 15,975 835 12,529 729

35 to 44 years

25,572 970 14,549 1,067 11,023 857

45 to 54 years

25,771 953 14,062 1,051 11,709 845

55 years and over

23,839 980 13,250 1,125 10,589 859

55 to 64 years

19,351 987 10,663 1,133 8,688 873

65 years and over

4,488 941 2,588 1,087 1,901 762

White

16 years and over

88,794 887 50,776 965 38,018 791

16 to 24 years

8,494 514 4,876 529 3,618 499

25 years and over

80,300 937 45,899 1,019 34,400 839

25 to 54 years

60,891 913 34,871 990 26,020 821

55 years and over

19,409 1,012 11,028 1,161 8,381 889

Black or African American

16 years and over

14,727 696 7,131 744 7,596 658

16 to 24 years

1,429 488 735 478 694 501

25 years and over

13,298 734 6,396 801 6,902 686

25 to 54 years

10,618 720 5,101 777 5,517 674

55 years and over

2,681 792 1,295 884 1,386 724

Asian

16 years and over

7,509 1,010 4,132 1,147 3,377 902

16 to 24 years

570 584 309 600 261 528

25 years and over

6,939 1,063 3,823 1,200 3,116 941

25 to 54 years

5,666 1,095 3,159 1,218 2,506 969

55 years and over

1,273 917 663 1,125 610 710

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

16 years and over

20,091 655 12,183 698 7,908 597

16 to 24 years

2,585 490 1,493 532 1,091 442

25 years and over

17,507 690 10,690 725 6,817 636

25 to 54 years

14,730 685 8,976 717 5,754 637

55 years and over

2,777 721 1,714 762 1,062 621

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
2016
3rd
2017
3rd
2016
3rd
2017

TOTAL

Management, professional, and related occupations

46,081 47,495 $1,195 $1,209

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

19,268 19,211 1,298 1,311

Professional and related occupations

26,813 28,284 1,140 1,155

Service occupations

16,759 16,514 520 540

Sales and office occupations

23,839 23,917 699 721

Sales and related occupations

9,840 10,081 744 774

Office and administrative support occupations

14,000 13,836 679 700

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

11,612 11,904 767 804

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

990 1,081 517 530

Construction and extraction occupations

6,387 6,412 767 805

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

4,235 4,412 850 868

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

14,492 15,028 677 680

Production occupations

7,473 7,746 675 700

Transportation and material moving occupations

7,019 7,282 679 647

Men

Management, professional, and related occupations

22,638 23,141 1,408 1,411

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

10,473 10,471 1,475 1,509

Professional and related occupations

12,165 12,670 1,352 1,359

Service occupations

8,264 8,189 592 610

Sales and office occupations

9,526 9,623 806 863

Sales and related occupations

5,479 5,726 903 967

Office and administrative support occupations

4,046 3,897 714 723

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

11,085 11,402 775 814

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

789 830 558 592

Construction and extraction occupations

6,217 6,258 768 806

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

4,079 4,314 853 873

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

11,592 11,824 722 718

Production occupations

5,555 5,729 738 761

Transportation and material moving occupations

6,037 6,095 708 683

Women

Management, professional, and related occupations

23,444 24,354 1,024 1,058

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

8,795 8,740 1,088 1,129

Professional and related occupations

14,648 15,613 997 1,020

Service occupations

8,495 8,326 485 501

Sales and office occupations

14,314 14,294 648 669

Sales and related occupations

4,360 4,355 591 601

Office and administrative support occupations

9,953 9,939 666 692

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

527 502 586 527

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

201 251 440 470

Construction and extraction occupations

171 153 692 694

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

155 98 723 698

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

2,900 3,204 521 540

Production occupations

1,918 2,017 519 569

Transportation and material moving occupations

982 1,188 524 508

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 2017 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

114,859 $413 $575 $859 $1,357 $2,024

Men

64,179 438 607 937 1,490 2,295

Women

50,680 393 522 767 1,166 1,766

White

88,794 422 590 887 1,396 2,091

Men

50,776 449 622 965 1,526 2,308

Women

38,018 402 544 791 1,200 1,815

Black or African American

14,727 378 492 696 1,045 1,579

Men

7,131 395 518 744 1,135 1,761

Women

7,596 360 468 658 968 1,370

Asian

7,509 438 613 1,010 1,725 2,482

Men

4,132 475 693 1,147 1,881 2,726

Women

3,377 402 550 902 1,476 2,095

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

20,091 375 475 655 981 1,522

Men

12,183 390 500 698 1,036 1,641

Women

7,908 348 428 597 892 1,356

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT

Total, 25 years and over

103,686 441 606 909 1,422 2,111

Less than a high school diploma

7,054 327 410 522 730 1,034

High school graduates, no college(1)

26,342 400 520 714 1,019 1,456

Some college or associate degree

27,341 437 580 801 1,156 1,646

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

42,949 612 865 1,271 1,897 2,864

Bachelor's degree only

26,876 579 783 1,164 1,770 2,519

Advanced degree

16,073 729 1,002 1,470 2,118 3,093

Men, 25 years and over

57,836 480 651 995 1,567 2,363

Less than a high school diploma

4,790 362 454 591 808 1,173

High school graduates, no college(1)

16,235 441 588 799 1,128 1,603

Some college or associate degree

14,582 479 635 915 1,339 1,886

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

22,229 647 975 1,460 2,185 3,123

Bachelor's degree only

14,132 610 914 1,373 2,001 2,910

Advanced degree

8,097 771 1,120 1,671 2,419 3,499

Women, 25 years and over

45,850 411 560 811 1,224 1,849

Less than a high school diploma

2,264 299 365 447 566 737

High school graduates, no college(1)

10,107 367 463 608 844 1,132

Some college or associate degree

12,759 411 523 703 981 1,334

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

20,720 586 774 1,128 1,651 2,300

Bachelor's degree only

12,744 533 724 995 1,466 2,001

Advanced degree

7,976 698 951 1,329 1,886 2,765

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
2016
3rd
2017
3rd
2016
3rd
2017

SEX AND AGE

Total, 16 years and over

23,973 23,785 $255 $266

Men, 16 years and over

8,300 8,099 245 253

16 to 24 years

3,666 3,631 201 217

25 years and over

4,634 4,468 292 300

Women, 16 years and over

15,673 15,686 260 274

16 to 24 years

4,400 4,736 202 208

25 years and over

11,273 10,950 294 310

RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX

White

18,681 18,797 258 269

Men

6,257 6,288 246 256

Women

12,424 12,508 264 277

Black or African American

2,947 2,869 238 249

Men

1,115 999 235 233

Women

1,833 1,870 240 254

Asian

1,379 1,148 265 285

Men

537 395 264 259

Women

842 753 266 295

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

3,998 3,928 246 263

Men

1,366 1,410 246 263

Women

2,631 2,517 247 263

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, 2017