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April 18, 2003
Weekly Earnings Rise Slightly in March

Real average weekly earnings increased by 0.2 percent from February to March after seasonal adjustment, according to preliminary data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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A 0.1 percent increase in average hourly earnings and a 0.6 percent rise in average weekly hours was partly offset by a 0.5 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). 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 3.4 percent, seasonally adjusted, from March 2002 to March 2003. After deflation by the CPI-W, average weekly earnings increased by 0.2 percent.

Before adjustment for seasonal change and inflation, average weekly earnings were $518.47 in March 2003, compared with $497.31 a year earlier.

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