Median weekly earnings of the nation's 99.0 million full-time wage and salary
workers were $620 in the first quarter of 2003, the Bureau of Labor Statistics
of the U.S. Department of Labor reported. This was 1.5 percent higher than a
year earlier, compared with a gain of 2.8 percent in the Consumer Price Index
for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the same period.
Data on usual 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.
Women who usually worked full time had median earnings of $551 per week, or
79.3 percent of the $695 median for men. The female-to-male earnings ratios
were higher among blacks or African Americans (89.3 percent) and Hispanics or
Latinos (88.3 percent) than among whites (79.0 percent) and Asians (78.2 percent).
Median earnings for black men working at full-time jobs were $552 per week,
77.4 percent of the median for white men ($713). The difference was much less
among women, as black women's median earnings ($493) were 87.6 per- cent of
those for their white counterparts ($563). Overall, median earnings of Hispanics
who worked full time ($447) were lower than those of blacks ($516), whites ($636),
and Asians ($718).
Among men, the highest median weekly earnings were for those age 45 to 54 and
age 55 to 64 ($822 for each age group). Among women, earnings were highest for
those 45 to 54 years old ($606).
Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in managerial,
professional, and related occupations had the highest median weekly earnings - $1,058
for men and $756 for women. Men and women in service jobs earned the least.
Full-time workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma had median
weekly earnings of $397, compared with $549 for high school graduates (no college)
and $961 for college graduates 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 $2,498 or more per week,
compared with $1,856 or more for their female counterparts.