Earnings outstripped by consumer prices

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Published: April 16,2010

Tags: earnings, wages and salaries

Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 96.8 million full-time wage and salary workers were $754 in the first quarter of 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. This was 2.2 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 2.4 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. Highlights from the first-quarter data are:

• Women who usually worked full time had median earnings of $665 per week, or 78.8 percent of the $844 median for men. The female-to-male earnings ratios were higher among blacks (92.0 percent) and Hispanics (85.6 percent) than among whites (78.0 percent) or Asians (81.6 percent).

• Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median earnings for black men working at full-time jobs were $635 per week, 73.1 percent of the median for white men ($869). The difference was less among women, as black women’s median earnings ($584) were 86.1 percent of those for white women ($678). Overall, median earnings of Hispanics who worked full time ($554) were lower than those of blacks ($610), whites ($772) and Asians ($859).

• Usual weekly earnings of full-time workers varied by age. Among men, those age 45 to 54 and age 55 to 64 had the highest median weekly earnings, $972 and $980, respectively. Among women, weekly earnings also were highest for those two age groups, $736 and $733, respectively.

• Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in management, possessional and related occupations had the highest median weekly earnings — $1,268 for men and $915 for women. Persons employed in service jobs earned the least.

• By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $448, compared with $624 for high school graduates (no college) and $1,140 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 $3,319 or more per week, compared with $2,277 or more for their female counterparts.

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