The average weekly wages of all workers covered by state and federal unemployment
insurance (UI) programs was $739 in the fourth quarter of 2002, an increase
of 1.7 percent from the same quarter in 2001, according to preliminary data
released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Quarterly employment and wage data are compiled from reports submitted by employers
subject to state and federal UI laws, covering 129.3 million full- and part-time
The lowest-paid sector was accommodation and food services with average weekly
wages of $275. The next lowest-paid sector was agriculture, forestry, fishing
and hunting at $428, followed by retail trade ($460), other services, except
public administration ($479), and administrative and waste services ($508).
Management of companies and enterprises was the highest-paid sector in the
fourth quarter of 2002, with average weekly wages of $1,304. Still, management
of companies and enterprises was the only industry sector to record an over-the-year
decline in average weekly wages in the fourth quarter of 2002, falling by 0.9
Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia showed growth in wages over
year-ago levels. The highest wage growth (4.9 percent) occurred in the District
of Columbia, followed by Hawaii (4.3 percent), Nevada (3.9 percent), and Alabama
and Rhode Island (3.8 percent each).
Two states experienced declines in their average weekly wage levels compared
with the fourth quarter of 2001. New York had the larger decline (-0.5 percent),
followed by Delaware (-0.2 percent). Five states experienced less than one-percent
growth in wages. Among the states with pay gains, Connecticut had the slowest
rate of growth at 0.5 percent, followed by Massachusetts (0.6 percent), Texas
and Utah (0.8 percent each), and Missouri (0.9 percent).
Among the states and the District of Columbia, the District of Columbia had
the highest weekly wage level ($1,192) in the fourth quarter of 2002, followed
by Connecticut ($955), New Jersey ($915), New York ($909), and Massachusetts
($907). The 2002 fourth-quarter wage levels of these five areas ranged from
23 percent to 61 percent above the national average.