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June 18, 2003
Real Earnings Edge up in May
Real average weekly earnings increased by 0.5 percent from April to May after seasonal adjustment, according to a preliminary report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was due to a 0.3 percent increase in average hourly earnings and a 0.1 percent decrease in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Average weekly hours were unchanged.

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Data on average weekly earnings are collected from the payroll reports of private nonfarm establishments. Earnings of both full-time and part-time workers holding production or nonsupervisory jobs are included. Real average weekly earnings are calculated by adjusting earnings in current dollars for changes in the CPI-W.

Average weekly earnings rose by 2.6 percent, seasonally adjusted, from May 2002 to May 2003. After deflation by the CPI-W, average weekly earnings increased by 0.6 percent. Before adjustment for seasonal change and inflation, average weekly earnings were $514.08 in May 2003, compared with $501.25 a year earlier.

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