Home » Economy » Half of All Full-time Employees Earn Less Than $19/hr.

Half of All Full-time Employees Earn Less Than $19/hr.

DATA DRIVEN VIEW POINT:  There are 103.6 million full-time workers in America, half of whom make $758 per week or less before income taxes and other payroll deductions.  That means a full time worker supporting a family of 4 and making the median U.S. wage needs, and is income eligible for, supplemental food assistance (SNAP).  These employees work a minimum of 35 hours per week, but may be working more than 40 hours per week as this income includes tip, commissions and overtime. It doesn’t include employer benefits.  All self-employed persons are excluded.
If the average hours worked per week is between 40 and 50 hours, the median hourly wage would be between $15 and $19 dollars per hour (with any overtime pay included). Again, that means that almost half of all full-time employees make less than $15 to $19 dollars per hour.  By inference, this means a great many full-time employees are making close to minimum wage. Also of note is the significant wage disparity between men and woman, especially among White and Asian women.
American workers are simply not being paid enough.  Any business hiring a full-time employee and paying less than a living wage should be taxed the difference between the employees wages and the taxpayer supported supplemental services that person is entitled to receive.

Bureau of Labor Statistics
For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, October 18, 2012   USDL-12-2072
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 2012

Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 103.6 million full-time wage and salary workers were $758 in the third quarter of 2012 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

This was 0.7 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.7 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.) Data shown in this release are not seasonally adjusted unless otherwise specified. Highlights from the third-quarter data are:

  • Seasonally adjusted median weekly earnings were $765 in the third quarter of 2012, little changed from the previous quarter ($773). (See table 1.)
  • On a not seasonally adjusted basis, median weekly earnings were $758 in the third quarter of 2012. Women who usually worked full time had median weekly earnings of $685, or 82.7 percent of the $828 median for men. (See table 2.)
  • The female-to-male earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White women earned 83.4 percent as much as their male counterparts, compared with black (93.2 percent), Hispanic (87.5 percent), and Asian women (73.1 percent). (See table 2.)
  • Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median weekly earnings for black men working at full-time jobs were $633 per week, or 74.1 percent of the median for white men ($854). The difference was less among women, as black women’s median earnings ($590) were 82.9 percent of those for white women ($712). Overall, median earnings of Hispanics who worked full time ($556) were lower than those of blacks ($606), whites ($780), and Asians ($915). (See table 2.)
  • Usual weekly earnings of full-time workers varied by age. Among men, those age 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 had the highest median weekly earnings, $976 and $980, respectively. Usual weekly earnings were highest for women age 35 to 64; weekly earnings were $740 for women age 35 to 44, $754 for women age 45 to 54, and $766 for women age 55 to 64. Workers age 16 to 24 had the lowest median weekly earnings, at $437. (See table 3.)
  • Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in management, professional, and related occupations had the highest median weekly earnings—$1,300 for men and $948 for women. Men and women employed in service jobs earned the least, $530 and $440, respectively. (See table 4.)
  • By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $464, compared with $648 for high school graduates (no college) and $1,170 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 $3,448 or more per week, compared with $2,311 or more for their female counterparts. (See table 5.)

Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Usual Weekly Earnings Data The Usual Weekly Earnings news release for the fourth quarter of 2012 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 2008 will be subject to revision.


Go to Tables: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/wkyeng.pdf

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