January 5, 2000 (The Editor’s Desk is updated each business day.)

Pay increase largest in finance again

Workers in finance, insurance, and real estate earned 8.3 percent more on average in 1998 than in 1997, the largest gain of any industry. This industry was the leader in pay gains for the fourth consecutive year.

Percent increase in average annual pay for all covered workers, private sector and selected industries, 1998
[Chart data—TXT]

Two other major industries managed above-average growth in pay: wholesale trade, which saw an increase of 5.9 percent, and retail trade, which saw an increase of 5.8 percent. Industries with below-average pay gains were services (5.4 percent), manufacturing (4.5 percent) and transportation, communications, and utilities (4.4 percent). Overall, average annual pay rose by 5.5 percent in the private sector from 1997 to 1998.

Among the industries shown in the chart, average annual pay was highest in 1998 in finance, insurance, and real estate: $48,597. Pay was lowest in retail trade ($16,794), an industry with a large proportion of part-time workers. Average pay in the entire private sector was $31,722 in 1998.

The BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program produced these data. Pay data presented here are for workers covered by State and Federal unemployment insurance programs. Find more information on pay in 1998 in "Average Annual Pay By State and Industry, 1998," news release USDL 99-357.

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