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1

BLS Measures
of Compensation

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^57

U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics
February 1986
Bulletin 2239

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BLS Measures
of Compensation
U.S. Department of Labor
William E. Brock, Secretary
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Janet L. Norwood, Commissioner
February 1986
Bulletin 2239

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government P rinting Office W ashington, D.C. 20402

Preface

The responsibilities of a data collection agency such
as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls) must extend

beyond the preparation and publication of statistical
series. The agency must also make available descriptions
of its data and provide guidance as to their appropriate
uses and limitations.
This bulletin is designed as an introduction to the
various bls series on employee compensation. It
describes each set of data, indicates the manner in which
it is developed, and points out where published data
may be found. Examples of published statistical tables
supplement the discussion. The bulletin thus indicates to

data users the scope of available material and provides
guidance in the selection of series for particular studies.
This publication was written by members of the staffs
of the bls offices responsible for the various statistical
series-under discussion. Authors are identified at the
end of each chapter. Coordination of the work was pro­
vided in the Office of Wages and Industrial Relations by
Victor J. Sheifer. The bulletin was prepared for publica­
tion by Eugene H. Becker of the Office of Publications.
Material in this publication is in the public domain
and, with appropriate credit, may be reproduced
without permission.

;:

-

Contents

Page
1. Introduction.......................................................................................................................

1

2. Occupational wage surveys..................................

7

3. Average hourly and weekly earnings—establishment d ata...............................................
Appendix: The Hourly Earnings Index...............................................................................

22
32

4. Earnings statistics from the Current Population Survey....................................................

34

5. Wages of workers covered by unemployment insurance programs...................................

48

6. Income and earnings data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey.................................

56

7. The Employment Cost Index..............................................................................................

61

8. Hourly compensation measures of the Office of Productivity and Technology................

69

9. Measuring negotiated wage and benefit changes...............................................................

74

10. The Employee Benefits Survey..........................................................................................

83

Appendix:
A. Selected compensation series published by agencies
other than the Bureau of Labor Statistics...........................................................................

94

v

Chapter I. Introduction

plus benefit provisions is usually thought of as the
“ price” of labor and is a dominant consideration in
union-management contract negotiations and in person­
nel policies in establishments with no union contracts.
In one sense, the rate of pay, as just defined, func­
tions as a building block; together with other elements,
such as hours worked, it determines the size of employer
payments to or on behalf of a worker. Such expen­
ditures constitute employee earnings or compensation,
the former if limited to employer payroll outlays and the
latter if payments to public and private pension, health,
and welfare funds are included.
Because earnings statistics reflect payroll expen­
ditures flowing directly from employers to workers,
these data can be looked upon either as measures of
employer expenditures or of worker receipts. Employer
expenditures for such benefits as pensions and life in­
surance, however, are to trust funds or insurance car­
riers rather than directly to workers. Therefore, in a
given time period, employer outlays on compensation
do not equal worker receipts. Compensation series tend
to focus on payments made by employers rather than on
money received by workers.
We should note that the term “ compensation” is used
in two contexts—first, as a specific concept, and, second,
as a general label for worker remuneration. The first of
these usages is developed in the preceding paragraphs;
the second is found in the title of this bulletin.
Although wage and salary rates may be quoted on
either a time or output basis—depending on the pay
system in force—earnings and compensation are almost
always expressed in units of time—hourly, weekly,
monthly, or annual.1 Compensation series typically ex­
clude nonmonetary items such as employer-provided
food, lodging, or merchandise. Also, data usually are
presented before deductions such as income taxes
withheld, employees’ share of Social Security taxes and
insurance premiums, and union dues; that is, they refer
to gross rather than take-home pay.
From the employer expenditure side, existing com­
pensation series are not, strictly speaking, measures of
total labor cost. They do not include costs for such
items as employee hiring and training.

Close to 100 million persons in the United States were
employed as wage or salary workers in 1984. Their
wages, salaries, and benefits accounted for threefourths of our national income.
These magnitudes underscore the importance of a
comprehensive and integrated statistical program cover­
ing employee compensation. In their role as prices for
purchased labor services, wages, salaries, and benefits
play an important part in allocating the labor force
among occupations, industries, and areas of the coun­
try. Furthermore, earnings derived from employment
constitute the major source of consumer purchasing
power and, hence, influence the demand for the
Nation’s output of goods and services. At the same
time, for the economy as a whole, employee compensa­
tion is the primary cost of production and thus affects
demand for labor services and the volume of output.
Over the years, in response to diverse needs of public
and private data users, the Bureau of Labor Statistics
( b l s ) has developed a variety of series on compensation.
This bulletin is designed to aid data users in selecting the
compensation series appropriate for their studies. It
covers each of the current b l s programs, describing
their outputs, methods of data collection and tabula­
tion, and major uses and limitations. Samples of
published tables are included. In addition, an appendix
briefly describes series issued by other data producers,
chiefly agencies of the Federal Government.
This chapter serves as a point of departure, con­
trasting the various types of series that are available. It
also provides, for easy reference, a tabular summary
comparison of the current b l s series.
Pay concepts

At the outset, it is important to recognize that the
availability of a variety of statistical series reflects the
multi-faceted nature of employee compensation. As
already observed, employee pay can be viewed as a price
paid to providers of labor services, as a source of con­
sumer purchasing power, or as an element in production
costs. Individual series, as a result, may measure rates
o f pay, earnings, compensation, labor cost, or income.
Although these concepts are related, the differences
among them are signficant.
The fundamental concept is the rate o f pay, con­
sisting of the basic money return to a worker for a unit
of time worked or output produced, plus the various
employee benefits in effect. This package of a wage rate

1
Paid leave normally results in time off from work with a con­
tinuation o f pay, rather than additional money receipts. To account
for this, data on employer outlays for worker compensation may be
expressed as expenditures per hour at work as well as on an hours paid
for basis.

1

Income, an even broader concept, focuses on total
receipts of individuals, and includes payments from a
variety of sources, for example, interest on savings ac­
counts; it is not limited to payments for work perform­
ed, as are compensation measures.

wages and salaries, typically are uniform for large
employee groups within an establishment; ordinarily,
there are no separate plans for individual occupations.
Consequently, data are reported only for broad
employee categories, such as production and related
workers or nonsupervisory office clerical employees.
More detailed information on benefit practices is
available from a separate Employee Benefits Survey
which covers both the general incidence and the specific
characteristics of a variety of benefits paid for, at least
in part, by the employer. Data are presented separately
for three occupational groups—professionaladministrative, technical-clerical, and production
workers. (See chapter 10.)
b l s also produces several series measuring the level of
employee earnings; they provide data on an hourly,
weekly, or annual basis. One of these series is developed
through a survey of business establishments, covering
employment, payrolls, and hours. A second uses data
collected in the Current Population Survey—a monthly
household survey that emphasizes questions on labor
force status. A third series comes from an analysis of
reports employers are required to submit in connection
with the administration of unemployment insurance
laws. Although differing in industrial and occupational
coverage, method of data collection, detail published,
and timeliness, these series have key elements in com­
mon. They reflect the combined influence of money
wage and salary rates and labor utilization, that is, ag­
gregate payroll outlays of employers. (See chapters 3,4, and 5.)
Earnings series are particularly useful in studies em­
phasizing money flows in the economy, for example,
those
concerning
purchasing
power
of
workers or employer costs.3 Since the data often are for
broad worker groupings, they may be useful also as
summary statistics for interindustry or interarea com­
parisons. Caution must be exercised in such usage,
however; the broader the worker coverage of a series,
the more difficult it is to interpret the data. For exam­
ple, in comparing average hourly earnings data to detect
interindustry variations in wage rates, it is necessary to
consider the degree to which the industries studied differ
in job mix, which also affects the level of average hourly
earnings.
In addition to measures of wage and salary rates and
employee earnings, b l s also develops data on income.4
They come from both the Current Population Survey
(CPS) and a separate survey primarily concerned with

Statistics on the level and structure of pay

The distinctions discussed in the preceding section are
evident in the Bureau’s compensation measurement pro­
gram. An integral part of this program is the collection
and publication of data on occupational wage and
salary rates. (See chapter 2.) These rates, as is true of
prices generally, are important as allocators of produc­
tive resources. Pay differentials among various occupa­
tions, firms, industries, and areas affect the relative at­
tractiveness of alternative work opportunities and, con­
sequently, are among the forces influencing workers in
their labor market behavior. Similarly, from the
employer’s side, geographic differentials in wage rates,
for example, are given weight in decisions regarding
location of new plants.
Occupational wage and salary rate data often are col­
lected by individual industries and local labor markets
and, therefore, are useful in studies of both levels of pay
and variations in pay according to occupation, industry,
and geographic area. Data are summarized to present
average pay levels and, also, distributions of workers by
pay level in each occupational-industrial-geographic
grouping. Separate sets of data also may be developed
for union and nonunion employers, for metropolitan
and nonmetropolitan areas, and for establishments in
various employment size groups.2
These occupational data are used for a variety of pur­
poses, including wage and salary administration, unionmanagement contract negotiations, mediation and ar­
bitration proceedings, plant location decisions, occupa­
tional counseling, evaluation of job offers to unemploy­
ment insurance recipients, minimum wage policy
guidance, and analyses of wage differentials among oc­
cupations, industries, and areas.
For the most part, occupational pay data are limited
to basic wage rates, and exclude premium payments for
overtime, weekend, holiday, and late-shift work. Pay
increases—but not bonuses—under cost-of-living
allowance ( c o l a ) clauses, however, are included. For
workers paid piece or other incentive rates, hourly earn­
ings excluding premium pay are collected as a proxy for
wage rates.
b l s occupational wage surveys commonly collect
limited information on the incidence of employee
benefits, for example, the percent of workers covered by
paid holiday and vacation provisions, life and health in­
surance, and private pension plans. Benefits, unlike

3 Because series typically measure earnings before taxes and other
deductions, they commonly are not precise measures o f purchasing
power.
4 At this time, the Bureau does not produce a series on the level and
structure o f employee compensation. Because o f budget constraints, a
program o f measuring employer compensation expenditures was
discontinued after publication o f data for 1977. Total compensation,
however, is taken into account in measures o f pay change discussed in
the next section o f this chapter.

2 The discussion here emphasizes the ideal. For a specific survey,
budget and other factors may limit the amount of detail actually col­
lected and published.

2

union and management negotiators commonly use data
on collective bargaining settlements reached elsewhere
in their own deliberations.

consumer expenditures for goods and services. The c p s
data permit analysis of income in relation to the
employment status of workers. Consumer Expenditure
Survey data allow users to relate income data to spen­
ding and saving patterns of consumer units. (See
chapters 4 and 6.)

Current-dollar and deflated series

Studies of pay changes may be concerned with ef­
fects on workers’ purchasing power, in which case it is
necessary to take into account movements in consumer
prices. To facilitate such studies, a series may be
deflated, that is, adjusted for price changes by dividing
the pay data for individual time periods by the Con­
sumer Price Index for the respective periods. Pay is thus
expressed over the time period in dollars of constant
purchasing power.

Statistics on changes in pay

Data users are often interested in pay changes. They
must be aware that a comparison of average pay at two
points in time does not necessarily provide a meaningful
measure of change. For example, average hourly earn­
ings may change not only as a result of changes in wage
rates but also because of such factors as employment
shifts within and among industries, changes in the
volume of work paid at premium rates, and changes in
the volume of output under incentive pay plans.
Calculation of changes in average hourly earnings over
time provides no clue as to the specific forces giving rise
to the change.
Examination of changes in average hourly earnings is
appropriate for studies of changes in money flows,
without regard to the causes of the change. For such
studies, the Bureau also provides, in index number
form, a more comprehensive series on changes in
average hourly compensation. (See chapter 8.)
However, for those who wish to study changes in
rates of pay, special statistical series are available and
should be used.5 The Employment Cost Index ( e c i ) is a
comprehensive quarterly measure of changes in the
price (wages plus benefit costs) of a standardized mix of
purchased labor services, much as the Bureau’s Con­
sumer Price Index measures changes in the price of a
standardized “ market basket” of consumer goods and
services. The e c i covers the private nonfarm economy,
excluding households, plus State and local governmen­
tal units. (See chapter 7.)
To provide information on pay changes resulting
from collective bargaining, b l s reports on the wage and
benefit terms of individual major collective bargaining
settlements. It also provides quarterly statistical sum­
maries of the size of these changes. (See chapter 9.)
Information on changes in rates of pay is valuable to
a variety of users. Economists, for example, use such
data to analyze inflationary tendencies. Furthermore,

Data presentation

For many series, data are initially issued in a news
release, followed by presentation in a b l s periodical
such as Employment and Earnings or Current Wage
Developments. In other cases, data are presented in
summary reports, b l s bulletins, or Monthly Labor
Review articles. Both the Monthly Labor Review and
Current Wage Developments also contain convenient
collections of data from b l s series. A more detailed
compilation of major Bureau series is in the Handbook
o f Labor Statistics.6
b l s data typically are obtained through sample
surveys in which b l s pledges to use the information col­
lected for statistical purposes only, and not to reveal
data furnished by individual respondents. This con­
fidentiality pledge may restrict the amount of detail
published for a given survey.
An increasing number of data users are interested in
obtaining survey findings on computer tapes. Such
tapes often may be purchased from the Bureau.
However, micro tapes—those containing data for in­
dividual respondents—are edited to prevent identifica­
tion of respondents.
Selection of series

As the preceding discussion emphasizes, several
general questions need to be answered before data users
can determine which statistical series would be most
useful for their work:
1 Should the data cover rates of pay or money flows?
.

5 In some cases, it is possible to adjust existing series to more easily
reveal underlying wage-rate movements. Thus, the Bureau’s Hourly
Earnings Index adjusts average hourly earnings data to exclude the ef­
fects o f fluctuations in overtime premiums in manufacturing (the only
industry sector for which overtime data are available) and shifts in the
proportion o f workers in high- and low-wage industries. Seasonal ad­
justment o f the data, furthermore, removes the influence o f changes
that normally occur at the same time and in about the same magnitude
each year. Similarly, indexes developed from occupational data col­
lected in area wage surveys reduce the effect o f employment shifts.
Nevertheless, while these adjustments provide closer approximations,
they do not yield the ideal measures.

2. Are wage data sufficient, or is there need for statistics
on the total compensation package?
3. Should the data be for pay levels or for pay changes?
Answers to these questions will limit the range of
series from which a choice must be made. Nevertheless,
' For the most recent edition, see BLS Bulletin 2217, issued in June
1985.

3

several series may still seem appropriate. For example,
the Bureau produces several series on the level of
employee earnings.
Choice of a particular series involves such considera­
tions as the portion of the economy covered by the
data—few series cover all groups of workers or all in­
dustrial sectors. Furthermore, establishment surveys
may exclude units below a specified employment size.
Another important consideration may be the amount of
detail available in terms of industry, area, and type of
worker. Also, the time period covered may be signifi­
cant; for some purposes annual series may suffice, while
other investigations may require monthly or quarterly
data. In any event, it is essential that users be aware of
the definitions given to the items studied. For example,
a survey of employee earnings may cover only regular
payroll outlays, and exclude yearend and other ir­
regularly paid bonuses.
Finally, users should be familiar with the methods of
compiling the series, because the conceptual
framework, the amount and type of detail, and the ac­
curacy of the data may be affected. We have already
seen that some earnings series come from a survey of
establishments that provides data on employment,
payrolls, and hours; others from household responses in
the Current Population Survey. In addition, earnings
statistics are developed from establishment reports filed
pursuant to regulations of agencies administering
unemployment insurance programs.
Table 1.1 and the detailed descriptions in the follow­
ing chapters are designed to aid users in treating these
considerations. The table classifies current b l s series in
accordance with their emphasis on rates of pay or
employer expenditures and on levels of pay or changes
in levels. In addition, information is presented on in­
dustry and worker coverage, frequency of publication,
types of compensation included, and data sources.
Despite the great variety of series produced, available
statistics may not precisely meet the needs of a user. In
such instances, an effort should be made to select the
closest approximation to the desired data and to take ac­
count of the deficiency in the analysis.

sets of data. For example, measures of wage-rate change
might show a decline in the size of wage gains over a
given time period, while the increase in average hourly
earnings might accelerate.
The more closely related the series being compared,
the fewer are the factors that may produce divergent
results and the greater the confidence that can be placed
in explanations for differences. Aside from reporting er­
rors, variations in series findings may stem from dif­
ferences in one or more of the following:
1. Concept
2. Worker coverage
3. Geographic coverage
4. Industrial coverage
5. Establishment employment size cutoff
6. Timing o f data collection
7. Unit o f measurement
8. Collection techniques
9. Estimating techniques
10. Sample size and variability

To minimize these differences, uniform definitions
are employed, where possible, in the various surveys.
Thus, industrial classification follows the Standard In­
dustrial Classification Manual (sic), issued by the Of­
fice of Management and Budget ( o m b ) . The sic Manual
allows for classification of establishments on a 1-, 2-, 3-,
or 4-digit industry code basis, depending on the level of
detail desired. One-digit classification is at the broad in­
dustry division level (for example, manufacturing),
while 2-digit classification provides major sub­
classifications of industry divisions, such as primary
metal industries. These, in turn, can be divided into
3-digit groups (iron and steel foundries, for example)
and still more narrowly defined 4-digit industries (gray
iron foundries).
Similarly, locality data commonly are for
metropolitan statistical areas as defined by o m b . A
Standard Occupational Classification Manual has also
been developed, but the varying degree of specificity in
occupational definitions required among the surveys
precludes its use across all of the Bureau’s statistical
programs.

Comparing statistical series

Analysts frequently compare compensation series.
One goal may be the indirect study of the difference bet­
ween two available series. At other times, the aim is to
explain variations in the signals given out by different

Victor J. Sheifer
Office of Wages
and Industrial Relations

4

Table 1.1 Basic characteristics of BLS compensation series
Compensation
coverage

Series

Wages and salaries.

Average hourly and weekly eam- Wages and salaries.

Industry
coverage

Worker
coverage

Emphasis
on pay
levels or
change

Geographic
coverage

Varies by survey— Levels.
nationwide, selected
regions and areas.

Primarily nonsuper- Varies by survey.
visory employees in
selected occupations.

Production and non- Private nonfarm eco­ Nationwide.
nom y;
exclu d in g
supervisory workers.
households.

Levels.

Earnings statistics from the Primarily wages and Wage and salary work­ All industries.
Current Population Survey..........
salaries; also total ers, all employed work­
money income.
ers.

Nationwide.

Wages of workers covered by Wages, salaries, and All workers covered by All industries
unemployment insurance (UI) other payments cov­ Federal and State UI
laws.
ered by UI taxes.

Nationwide, Statewide, Levels.
county level, and area.

Income and earnings data from the Wages, salaries, and Urban civilian noninsti- ( ’ )
other sources of in­ tutional population.2
Consumer Expenditure Survey. . .
come.

All urban areas.2

Wages, salaries, and All employees.
employer costs for em­
ployee benefits.

Private nonfarm eco- Nationwide.
nomy, excluding house­
holds, and State and
local governments.

Hourly compensation measures of Wages, salaries, and All employees plus U.S. business sector.
the Office of Productivity and su p p lem en ts plus the self-employed.
estimate of labor compensation o f selfemployed.
Emphasis on
pay rates or
employer
expenditures5
Rates.

Average hourly and weekly earn­ Expenditures.
ings—establishment d ata..............

Data
source

Data
reported

Nationwide.

Frequency of
publication

Levels.

Levels.

Change.

Change.

Where
published4

Statistical survey.

Hourly, weekly, mon­ Annual or longer.
thly, or annual straighttime earnings, by occ­
upation, usually with
incidence of benefits.

BLS bulletins, news re­
leases, locality releases.

Statistical survey.

Hourly and weekly earn­ Monthly.
ings, with industry and
geographic detail.8

Employment and Earn­
ings, news releases.

Hourly rates,

Employment and Earn­
ings, Monthly Labor Re­
view, news releases.

Earnings statistics from the Rates and expenditures. Statistical survey.
Current Population Survey..........

weekly Quarterly or annual.

and annual earnings,

money income; demo­
graphic detail.
Wages of workers covered by Expenditures.
unemployment insurance (UI)
programs.......................................

Employer reports for ad­ Weekly and annual earn­ Annual.
ministration of UI laws. ings per employee, ag­
gregate annual pay­
rolls; industry and area
detail.

Employment and Wages,
news releases.

Income and earnings data from the Expenditures
Consumer Expenditure Survey...

Statistical survey.

Annual income,
source.

BLS bulletins, news re­
leases.

Statistical survey.

Indexes and quarterly Quarterly.
and annual changes in
wages and salaries and
total compensation
costs.

Employment Cost Index................

Rates.

Hourly compensation measures of Expenditures.
the Office of Productivity and
Technology...................................

by Annual.

Employee compensation Indexes and quarterly Quarterly.
data from national in­ and annual changes in
come accounts; hours hourly compensation.
and proprietors’ com­
pensation estimated by
BLS.

See footnotes at end of table.

5

Current Wage Develop­
ments, news releases.

Employment and Earn­
ings, news releases.

Table 1.1 Continued— Basic characteristics of BLS compensation series

Series

Compensation
coverage

Worker
coverage

Industry
coverage

Negotiated wage and benefit Wages, salaries, and Production and non- Private nonfarm eco­ Nationwide.
supervisory workers in nomy: State and local
private benefits.
changes.........................................
bargaining units of governments.
1,000 workers or more
(5,000 or more for
wages and benefits
combined).
Employee Benefits Survey

Selected employee bene­ Full-time employees.
fits.

Emphasis on
pay rates or
employer
expenditures8

Medium and large Nationwide.
private nonfarm estab­
lishments.

Data
source

Data
reported

Emphasis
on pay
levels or
change

Geographic
coverage

Frequency of
publication

Change.

i

Levels.

Where
published4

Negotiated wage and benefit Rates.
changes.........................................

Largely secondary
sources.

Terms of individual set- Terms of settlements— Current Wage Develop­
dements; average pay monthly; statistical ments, news releases.
rate changes in cents summaries—quarterly
per hour and percent. for private industry,
semiannually for State
and local government.

Rates.

Statistical survey.

Incidence of benefit Annual.
plans and plan pro­
visions, by broad oc­
cupational group.

Employee Benefits Survey

i Not applicable.
1 Rural areas also will be covered beginning with the publication of 1984 data.
* Series on pay rates are concerned with the “ price” of labor services, while
series on expenditures measure money flows.
4 Summary data for many of the series can be found in the Monthly Labor

BLS bulletin, Monthly
Labor Review, news re­
leases.

Review, Current Wage Developments, and the Handbook o f Labor Statistics.
Unpublished data, including computer tapes, also may be available.
8 Indexes of change also are developed removing the effects of overtime in
manufacturing and interindustry employment shifts.

References
International Labour Office. A n In tegrated System
Statistics: A Manual on Methods. Geneva, 1979.

Antos, Joseph R. “ Analysis o f Labor Cost: Data Concepts and
Sources,” in Jack E. Triplett (ed.). The Measurement o f Labor
Cost. Chicago, University o f Chicago Press, 1983, pp. 153-72.

o f W ages

Mellow, Wesley and Hal Sider. “ Accuracy o f Response in Labor
Market Surveys: Evidence and Implications,” Journal o f Labor
Economics, October 1983, pp. 331-44.

Douty, H. M. “ A Century o f Wage Statistics: The BLS Contribu­
tion,” Monthly Labor Review, November 1984, pp. 16-28.

U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics. BLS Hand­
book o f Methods, Volume 1. Bulletin 2134-1, 1982.

Ferguson, Robert H. Wages, Earnings, and Incomes: Definitions o f
Terms and Sources o f Data. Bulletin 63. Ithaca, New York State
School o f Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, 1971.

6

Chapter 2. Occupational
Wage Surveys

wage legislation, and setting pay for Federal whitecollar workers.
Although differing in industrial, geographic, and oc­
cupational coverage, the surveys described below are
based on a common set of administrative forms, a single
manual of procedures, and common concepts and
definitions. In all surveys, establishments are classified
by industry as defined in the 1972 edition of the Stan­
dard Industrial Classification Manual prepared by the
U.S. Office of Management and Budget; and for most
surveys, Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area defini­
tions are used.2 Where possible, uniform job descrip­
tions are used for the occupations surveyed.

Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational wage surveys
develop averages and distributions of straight-time ear­
nings for a large number of jobs at a given point in time.
The backdrop may be a specific industry, an individual
labor market, or the continental United States.
Although most of the surveys regularly provide infor­
mation on the incidence of employee benefits, they are
not designed to provide a measure of total compensa­
tion, that is, wages and benefits combined.
The survey data, collected largely by personal visit,
are provided by employers on a voluntary basis. In
return, the Bureau pledges confidentiality for the infor­
mation and publishes it in a manner that will avoid
disclosure of individual establishment rates.
Survey results—published in b l s news releases, sum­
mary reports, bulletins, and the Monthly Labor
Review—are used for a variety of purposes. These in­
clude wage and salary administration, plant location
studies, collective bargaining, cost evaluations, and
Federal Government wage policies.
The b l s program of occupational wage surveys has
three major components: (1) Industry wage surveys in
selected manufacturing and nonmanufacturing in­
dustries covering occupations unique to a particular in­
dustry; (2) area wage surveys in selected metropolitan
areas, or labor markets, covering occupations common
to a variety of manufacturing and nonmanufacturing
industries; and (3) a national survey o f professional, ad­
ministrative, technical, and clerical pay in medium and
large firms of private industry, commonly referred to as
the PATC survey.1

Description of surveys

Industry wage surveys provide data for occupations
selected to represent a range of activities performed by
workers during a specified payroll month. In selecting
the occupations, primarily nonsupervisory, considera­
tion is given to their prevalence in the industry,
definiteness and clarity of duties, use as reference points
in collective bargaining, and importance in representing
the industry’s wage structure.
In addition to reporting straight-time, first-shift wage
rates (or hours and earnings for incentive workers) of
individuals in the selected occupations, surveys in most
industries also provide pay distributions for broad
employee groups, such as all production and related
workers or all nonsupervisory workers.
Weekly work schedules; shift operations and shift pay
differentials; paid holiday and vacation provisions; and
incidence of health, insurance, and pension plans are in­
cluded in the information collected, along with other
items of interest in a particular industry, for example,
incidence of cost-of-living adjustment ( c o l a ) provi­
sions or company-provided work clothing. The studies
also report estimates of workers covered by labormanagement agreements, proportions of workers
employed under incentive pay plans, and the extent to

Background

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has systematically col­
lected wage data by occupation and industry since the
turn of the century—first by industry, then across in­
dustry lines by metropolitan area, and most recently,
across industry lines on a nationwide basis, for the p a t c
survey. Each change in coverage was dictated mainly by
government requirements—such as administration of
wage stabilization policies during and immediately
following major military conflicts, Federal minimum

2
The Office o f Management and Budget replaced the designation
“ Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas” with “ Metropolitan
Statistical Areas” (M SA’s) and “ Primary Metropolitan Statistical
Areas” (PMSA’s) in June 1983. These new designations are being
gradually introduced into the occupational wage surveys as the pro­
gram schedules permit.

1 1n 1986, the PATC survey will begin a 3-year plan to expand to
smaller establishments, more service industries, and State and local
governments.

7

which establishments provide a single rate or a range of
rates for individual job categories.
Twenty-five manufacturing and 15 nonmanufacturing
industry surveys, accounting for about 22 million
employees, are conducted at the 3- or 4-digit sic level. A
majority are on a 5-year cycle, but a number of com­
paratively low-wage industries are on a 3-year cycle. The
program covers a broad cross-section of the Nation’s
economy, including automobile and steel manufactur­
ing as well as banking, computer data services, and
hospitals.
Nearly all of the manufacturing, utility, and mining
industries are studied on a nationwide basis, and
estimates are provided also for broad regions and major
local areas of employment concentration wherever
possible. Surveys in trade, finance, and service in­
dustries usually are limited to about two dozen
metropolitan areas. Nationwide surveys generally
develop separate employment and wage estimates by
size of establishment, metropolitan/nonmetropolitan
area, labor-management agreement coverage, and type
of product or plant group. (See figures 2-1 through 2-4
for the types of data produced from this program.)
Area wage surveys annually provide employment and
wage data for selected office clerical, professional,
technical, maintenance, toolroom, powerplant, material
movement, and custodial occupations common to a
wide variety of industries in the areas studied.
The 70 Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas in this
survey program as of 1985 were selected on a probability
basis to represent all metropolitan areas of the United
States, excluding Alaska and Hawaii.3 This sampling
procedure permits b l s to develop national and regional
estimates by weighting the individual area results from
each year’s program.
The duties and responsibilities in the occupations
studied are representative of those found in white-collar
jobs, skilled maintenance trades, and other nonproduc­
tion manual jobs. Weekly salaries reported for in­
dividuals in white-collar jobs relate to regular straighttime salaries paid for standard workweeks. Earnings in­
formation for plant workers excludes late-shift differen­
tials and premium pay for overtime.
Industry divisions included in these surveys are (1)
manufacturing; (2) transportation, communications,
and other public utilities; (3) wholesale trade; (4) retail
trade; (5) finance, insurance, and real estate; and (6)
selected service industries. Establishments employing
3 Beginning in 1987, the Bureau’s Area Wage Survey program will
increase its sample o f areas from 70 to 90, with 61 being studied each
year. The 32 largest areas, in terms o f nonagricultural employment,
will be surveyed annually and two groups of 29 areas each will be
surveyed in alternate years. All o f the areas will be defined as
Metropolitan Statistical Areas or Primary Metropolitan Statistical
Areas as defined by the Office o f Management and Budget through
October 1984.

8

fewer than 50 workers are excluded. However, in
manufacturing; transportation, communications, and
other public utilities; and retail trade in the 13 largest
areas, establisments must employ a minimum of 100
workers to be included in the survey.
In addition to the all-industry pay averages and
distributions of workers by earnings classes, data are
provided separately for manufacturing and non­
manufacturing in each area, and for transportation,
communications, and other public utilities in all but two
areas (figure 2-5). In 31 of the larger areas, wage data
are presented separately for establishments that have
500 workers or more.
Area wage surveys also develop tabulations on
percentage wage increases, adjusted for changes in
employment, for industrial nurses and four broad oc­
cupational groups (figure 2-6); occupational pay rela­
tionships within individual establishments (figure 2-7);
and interarea pay comparisons—area pay levels express­
ed as percentages of the national average for office
clerical, electronic data processing, skilled maintenance,
and unskilled plant workers (figure 2-8).
Data on weekly work schedules; paid holiday and
vacation practices; and health, insurance, and pension
plans are recorded separately for nonsupervisory office
workers and production and related workers. Informa­
tion relating to shift operations and shift pay differen­
tials is published for production workers in manufactur­
ing, while data on minimum entrance rates are collected
for inexperienced office workers in all industries. Wage
data are collected annually; establishment practices and
benefit items are studied every 3 years.
Area type wage surveys also have been conducted an­
nually since 1967 under contract with the Employment
Standards Administration of the U.S. Department of
Labor for use in administering the Service Contract Act
of 1965. Survey scope and method are the same as for
the Bureau’s regular area surveys, but a more limited
number of occupations and benefits are studied and
data are published only for all industries combined.
Data on incidence of paid holidays; vacation practices;
and health, insurance, and pension plans are collected
every 3 years.
Both programs of area wage surveys are conducted
throughout the calendar year, with each survey relating
to a specific month.
The National Survey o f Professional, Administrative,
Technical, and Clerical Pay ( p a t c ) provides broadly
based information on white-collar salary levels and
distributions in medium and large firms of private in­
dustry as of March each year. Approximately 110 oc­
cupational work levels were studied in 1985 selected
from the following fields: Accounting, legal services,
personnel management, engineering and chemistry, pur­
chasing, photography, drafting, computer science, and
clerical (figure 2-9). Definitions for these occupations

provide for classification of employees according to ap­
propriate work level. Although reflecting duties and
responsibilities in private industry, the definitions are
designed to be translatable to specific pay grades of
Federal white-collar employees. As a result, this survey
provides information suitable for use in comparing pay
between salaried employees in the Federal civil service
and their counterparts in private industry. Data from
the p a t c survey are used as a principal element in the
pay setting process for Federal white-collar employees.
Monthly and annual average salaries are reported by
occupational work level. Data relate to the straight-time
salary corresponding to the employee’s normal work
schedule, excluding overtime hours. Salary averages are
presented for all establishments covered by the survey,
establishments employing 2,500 workers or more, and
for metropolitan areas as a group.
Industry divisions included in the p a t c survey are (1)
mining; (2) construction; (3) manufacturing; (4)
transportation, communications, electric, gas, and
sanitary services; (5) wholesale trade; (6) retail trade; (7)
finance, insurance, and real estate; and (8) selected ser­
vices.
The minimum establishment size for the survey is 50,
100, or 250 employees, depending on the industry. This
minimum has been adjusted at various times since 1961
in response to the specifications of the President’s Pay
Agent (the Secretary of Labor and the Directors of the
Office of Personnel Management and the Office of
Management and Budget). The Agent has responsibility
for making salary comparisons between Federal whitecollar workers and their private sector counterparts and
recommending pay increases for Federal white-collar
workers based on these comparisons. Because the
survey scope is subject to change, users are directed
to the published bulletins for a description of current
practice.

included. For workers paid under Diecework or other
types of production incentive pay plans, an hourly earn­
ings figure serves as a proxy for the wage rate; it is com­
puted by dividing straight-time earnings over a time
period by corresponding hours worked.
Survey occupations are defined in advance through a
uniform set of job descriptions. Because of the em­
phasis on comparability of occupational content across
establishments, these descriptions primarily serve to
identify the essential elements of skill, difficulty, and
responsibility that make up the job. Consequently, the
Bureau’s descriptions may differ significantly from
those of individual establishments, or which include
detailed work arrangements, or from those used for
other than wage survey purposes. In general, the
Bureau’s survey job descriptions are more specific than
those published in the Standard Occupational
Classification Manual, prepared by the U.S. Office of
Management and Budget.
In applying the survey job descriptions, the Bureau’s
field representatives exclude working supervisors and
those paid less than the established job rate, such as ap­
prentices, learners, beginners, trainees, handicapped
workers, part-time or temporary workers, and proba­
tionary workers unless instructed otherwise.
Tabulations on the incidence of paid holidays, paid
vacations, and health, insurance, and pension plans are
based on the assumption that plans are applicable to all
nonsupervisory production or office workers if a ma­
jority of such workers are eligible or can expect even­
tually to qualify for the practices listed. Data for in­
surance and pension plans are limited to plans for which
at least a part of the cost is borne by the employer. In­
formal provisions are excluded. (For a description of
the Bureau’s comprehensive study of employee benefits
in medium and large firms, see chapter 10 of this
bulletin.)

Survey concepts

Survey methods
Planning. The needs of major users are a prime con­
sideration in designing the Bureau’s multipurpose oc­
cupational wage studies. Consultations are held with ap­
propriate management, labor, and government
representatives to obtain views and recommendations
related to scope, timing, selection and definition of
survey items, and types of tabulations. Particularly in
planning surveys in specific industries, these discussions
supplement feedback received from the Bureau’s
regional offices on their experiences in collecting data
for the previous study.
The industrial scope of each survey is identified in
terms of the classification system provided in the Stan­
dard Industrial Classification Manual. The scope may
range from part of a 4-digit code for an industry study
to a uniform combination of broad industry divisions
and specific industries for either the area wage surveys

The Bureau’s occupational wage surveys summarize a
highly specific wage measure—the rate of pay for in­
dividual workers, excluding premium pay for overtime
and for work on weekends, holidays, and late shifts.
Also excluded are performance bonuses and lump-sum
payments of the type negotiated in the auto and
aerospace industries,4 as well as profit-sharing
payments, attendance bonuses, Christmas or year-end
bonuses, and other nonproduction bonuses. Pay in­
creases—but not bonuses—under cost-of-living
allowance clauses and incentive payments, however, are

4 Performance bonuses in the auto industry provide a specified
percentage o f pay for all hours compensated during the preceding 12
months. In aerospace, current agreements call for lump-sum
payments equal to a specified percentage of gross earnings in the
preceding 12 months.

9

or the national survey of professional, administrative,
technical, and clerical pay.
The minimum establishment size included in a survey
is set at a point where the possible effect of the excluded
establishments on pay averages is regarded as negligible
for most of the occupations surveyed. Another practical
reason for the adoption of size limitations is the difficul­
ty encountered in classifying workers in small
establishments where they do not perform the specializ­
ed duties indicated in the job definitions.
Considerations in timing of industry wage surveys in­
clude expiration dates of major labor-management
agreements, deferred wage adjustments, seasonality of
production, and special needs of users. Whenever possi­
ble, area wage surveys are timed to follow major wage
settlements as well as to meet the legislative needs of
Federal agencies.
The types of occupations studied and the criteria used
in their selection are identified in the description of the
various types of surveys. The job list for each survey is
selected to represent a reasonably complete range of
rates in the wage structure for the employment
categories involved, for example, production and
related workers in a specific manufacturing industry—
or nonsupervisory office, maintenance, material hand­
ling, and custodial workers in a metropolitan area.
Technological developments or user interests may dic­
tate changes over time in the job lists and definitions.
New definitions for jobs usually are pretested in a varie­
ty of establishments prior to their use in a full-scale
survey.

The returns are scrutinized, and questionable entries are
checked with the respondent. Visits are made to
establishments not suitable for other types of collection,
those not responding to the mail or telephone request,
and those reporting unusual changes from previous-year
data.
The work of field representatives is checked for com­
pleteness and quality of reporting and accuracy in job
matching. Revisits are made by supervisory and senior
representatives on a selective basis. Systematic reviews
of the validity of survey definitions also are maintained.
Sampling. All surveys are conducted on a sample basis
using a suitable sampling “ frame,” that is, a list of
establishments which fall within the designated scope of
the survey. The frame is as close to the universe as possi­
ble but is often incomplete, b l s uses frames primarily
compiled from lists provided by administrative or
regulatory government agencies (chiefly State
unemployment insurance agencies). These may be sup­
plemented by data from directories, trade associations,
labor unions, and other sources as needed. For survey
purposes, an “ establishment” generally refers to a
single physical location in manufacturing industries and
to all outlets of a company within an area or county in
nonmanufacturing industries.
The survey design employs a high degree of stratifica­
tion. Each geographic-industry unit for which a
separate analysis is to be presented is sampled in­
dependently. Within these broad groupings, finer
stratification by product (or other pertinent attribute)
and size of establishment is made. Textile mills, for ex­
ample, are classified by whether they spin yarn, weave
cloth, or both. Such stratification is important if the oc­
cupational structure differs widely among the various
industry segments.
The sample for each industry-area group is a pro­
bability sample, that is, each establishment has a
predetermined chance of selection. However, in order to
secure maximum accuracy at a fixed level of cost (or a
fixed level of accuracy at minimum cost) the sampling
fraction used in the various strata, or sampling cells,
ranges downward from “ all” large establishments
through declining proportions of the establishments in
each smaller size group. Each sampled stratum will be
represented in the sample by a number of establishments
roughly proportionate to the stratum’s share of total
employment. The method of estimation employed yields
unbiased estimates by the assignment of proper weights
to the sampled establishments.
The size of the sample in a particular survey depends
on the size of the universe, the diversity of occupations
and their distribution, the relative dispersion of earnings
among establishments, the distribution of the
establishments by size, and the degree of accuracy re­
quired.

Data collection. Bureau field representatives typically
visit the sample establishments in a survey and collect
data for a specified payroll period. They carefully com­
pare job functions and factors in the establishment with
those included in b l s job definitions. This job matching
process may involve review of records (such as pay
structure plans, organizational charts, and company
position descriptions), interviews with appropriate of­
ficials, and observation of jobs within establishments. A
satisfactory completion of job matching permits accep­
tance of company-prepared reports where this pro­
cedure is preferred by the respondent. Generally,
however, the field representative secures wage or salary
rates (or hours and earning data, when needed) from
payrolls or other records and data on the selected
employer practices and supplementary benefits from
company officials, company booklets, or labormanagement agreements.
Area wage surveys in each locality are conducted by
personal visits every third year, with partial collection
by mail or telephone in the intervening years.
Establishments participating in the mail collection
receive a transcript of the job matching and wage data
obtained previously, together with the job definitions.
10

Area wage surveys are limited to selected
metropolitan areas, which form a sample of all such
areas and, when properly combined (weighted), yield
employment and wage estimates at the national and
regional levels. The sample of areas is based on the
selection of one area from a stratum of similar areas.
The criteria of stratification are region, type of in­
dustrial activity as measured by percent of manufactur­
ing employment, and major industries. Each area is
selected with its probability of selection proportionate
to its nonagricultural employment. The largest
metropolitan areas are self-representing, that is, each
one forms a stratum itself and is certain of inclusion in
the area sample.
Estimating procedures. Estimated average earnings
(hourly, weekly, monthly, or annual) for an industry or
an occupation are computed as the arithmetic mean of
individual employee earnings.
All estimates are derived from the sample data. The
averages for occupations, as well as for industries, are
weighted averages of individual earnings and are not
computed on an establishment basis. Supplementary
benefit provisions which apply to a majority of the pro­
duction or office workers in an establishment are con­
sidered to apply to all production or office workers in
that establishment and are considered nonexistent when
they apply to less than a majority.
To obtain unbiased estimates, each establishment is
assigned a weight that is the inverse of the sampling
ratio for the stratum from which it was selected; for ex­
ample, if a third of the establishments in one stratum
are selected, each of the sampled establishments is given
a weight of 3. In the area wage survey program, where a
sample of selected metropolitan areas is used to repre­
sent all such areas, another stage of sampling and
weighting is used to expand the individual area estimates
to national and regional levels.

out of 10 that the published estimates on average earn­
ings do not differ by more than 5 percent from the
averages that would be obtained by using data from all
establishments in the survey universe.
Estimates of employment in a given occupation may
have considerable sampling error, due to the wide varia­
tion in staffing patterns among establishments. (It is not
unusual to find sampling errors of as much as 20 per­
cent.) Hence, the estimated number of workers can be
interpreted only as a general guide to the relative impor­
tance of various occupations.
Nonsampling error can come from a number of
sources, including an inability to obtain information
from some establishments; definitional difficulties; in­
ability to provide correct information by respondents;
errors in recording or coding the data obtained; and
other errors of collection, response, coverage, and
estimation for missing data. Although not specifically
measured, the surveys’ nonsampling errors are expected
to be minimal due to relatively high response rates, welltrained field representatives, careful review of the data,
and other survey controls and procedures.
Presentation of data

Survey results are published in bls bulletins, reports,
news releases, and the Bureau’s Monthly Labor Review.
Industry wage and area wage survey reports and
bulletins are issued throughout the year as the surveys
are completed. The bulletin on the national survey of
professional, administrative, technical, and clerical pay,
preceded by a news release in July or August, becomes
available each fall. Copies of bls reports and releases
are available upon request. Bulletins are sold by the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Print­
ing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, gpo bookstores,
and the bls Chicago Regional Office listed on the inside
back cover of this bulletin. A brief discussion of some
features related to these publications follows.
When an industry survey is designed to yield estimates
for selected States or areas, summary reports are
published separately as this local information be­
comes available. Industry surveys limited to selected
areas do not provide pay ta b u latio n s by
metropolitan/nonmetropolitan area, establishment size,
or labor-management agreement coverage that generally
are included in reports on nationwide surveys.
Regardless of geographic scope, industry reports record
the incidence of incentive pay plans and, to the extent
possible, show pay data separately for time and incen­
tive workers.
Area wage survey reports and bulletins provide
percentage pay increases, adjusted for changes in
employment, for industrial nurses and four broad oc­
cupational groups: Office clerical, electronic data pro­
cessing, skilled maintenance, and unskilled plant
workers. These increases are computed annually,

Nonresponse adjustment, bls occupational wage
surveys have response rates generally exceeding 80 per­
cent of establishments contacted. However, when a
sample establishment does not provide data, the weights
of responding sample establishments from the same
stratum or sampling cell are increased to adjust for the
missing data. No adjustment is made for establishments
that are out of business or outside the scope of a survey.
Reliability. Results of the surveys will be subject to both
sampling and nonsampling error. Sampling errors occur
because observations come from a sample, not the en­
tire population or universe defined for a survey. They
will not be uniform for the occupations studied because
the dispersion of earnings among establishments and the
frequency of occurrence of an occupation differ. In
general, the sample is designed so that the chances are 9
11

levels, structure, and trends of pay rates by occupation,
industry, locality, and region is required in analyzing
current economic developments and in studies relating
to wage dispersion and differentials. Special Monthly
Labor Review articles have featured such analyses based
on b l s occupational wage surveys.
Bureau data are used in connection with private wage
or salary determinations by employers or through the
collective bargaining process. To the extent that wages
are a factor, survey data also are considered by
employers in plant or office location and in cost
estimating related to contract work.
Occupational wage surveys are not designed to supply
mechanical answers to questions of pay policy. As sug­
gested earlier, limitations are imposed in the selection
and definition of industries, of geographic units for
which estimates are developed, of occupations and
associated items studied, and in determination of
periodicity and timing of particular surveys. Depending
upon user needs, it may be necessary to interpolate for
occupations or areas missing from a survey on the basis
of knowledge of pay relationships.
Because of interestablishment variation in the propor­
tion of workers in the jobs studied and in the general
level of pay, the survey averages do not necessarily
reflect either the absolute or relative relationships found
within the majority of establishments. As mentioned
earlier, however, area wage survey bulletins provide
some insights into intraestablishment pay relationships
through special analytical tables.
The incidence of incentive pay systems may vary
greatly among the occupations and establishments
studied. Because average hourly earnings of incentive
workers generally exceed those of time-rated workers in
the same job, data are shown separately for the two
groups in industry wage surveys, whenever possible. In­
centive plans apply to only a very small proportion of
the workers in the indirect plant jobs studied in the area
wage program.
Although year-to-year changes in pay averages for a
job or job group primarily reflect general wage and
salary changes or merit increases received by in­
dividuals, these averages also may be affected by other
factors. Common among these are labor turnover, labor
force expansions and contractions for other reasons,
and changes in the proportion of workers employed in
high- and low-paying establishments. A labor force ex­
pansion might increase the proportion of workers in
lower paid, entry type jobs and thereby tend to lower
the average; or the closing of a relatively high-paying
establishment could cause average earnings in an area to
drop.
Much of this problem has been overcome for area
wage survey measures of pay change by holding
establishment employment constant while computing
percent increases in earnings. That is, the previous and

separately for all industries, manufacturing, and non­
manufacturing, for each metropolitan area studied, for
all metropolitan areas combined, and for four broad
Census regions. The computations include data only
from establishments included in both years of the survey
being compared.
Pay relatives for the same broad occupational
categories, expressing area average pay as a percent of
the national average, are published each summer in two
reports: Wage Differences Among Metropolitan Areas
and Wage Differences Among Selected Areas. (The
first of these reports covers the 70 areas in the area wage
survey program; the latter covers areas surveyed for the
Employment Standards Administration.) These reports
permit ready comparisons of average pay levels among
areas.
Estimates of labor-management agreement coverage
of plant and office workers are developed every third
year by each area wage survey. Occupational pay rela­
tionships within individual establishments are sum­
marized annually in individual area bulletins as il­
lustrated in figure 2-7.
The annual bulletin, National Survey o f Professional,
Administrative, Technical, and Clerical Pay ( p a t c ) ,
presents occupational salary averages and distributions
on an all-industry basis, nationwide and separately for
all metropolitan areas combined, and for establishments
employing 2,500 workers or more. Average pay levels
by industry division are shown as percentages of the all­
industry averages. Salary trend estimates for the oc­
cupations studied are included as a byproduct of the
survey.
The Monthly Labor Review regularly publishes ar­
ticles on the occupational wage surveys in two forms:
Research summaries alert interested parties to a survey
that has been completed, by providing highlights of the
findings. Special topical articles provide in-depth
analyses of wages and related benefits. (See references
at the end of this chapter for specific MLR articles.)
In addition to the survey publications, b l s regularly
makes computer tapes available for sale on the area
wage and p a t c surveys. Requests for computer tapes on
industry wage surveys are considered on an individual
survey basis. Filling such requests primarily depends
upon the Bureau’s ability to protect the identity of
respondents or their data.
Uses and limitations

Occupational wage data developed from b l s surveys
have a variety of uses. They are used by Federal, State,
and local agencies in wage and salary administration
and in the fomulation of public policy on wages, for ex­
ample, minmum wage legislation. They are of value to
Federal and State mediation and conciliation services
and to State unemployment compensation agencies in
judging the suitability of job offers. Knowledge of
12

current-year earnings of each establishment are
weighted by that establishment’s previous year’s
employment. Under this system, measurement of
change is limited to establishments surveyed in two con­
secutive years.
The effects of employment shifts among occupations
between survey dates also are eliminated in measuring
average earnings increases for workers covered by the
p a t c survey and by the machinery industry wage
survey. Employment shifts among establishments or
turnover of establishments included in survey samples,
however, are not controlled in these computations, as

they are in calculating area wage survey trends.
In general, the occupational wage survey programs
are designed to measure pay levels and pay structure at
specified points of time, rather than wage trends. For
this reason, users are directed to other b l s series that are
more appropriate indicators of wage change, such as the
Employment Cost Index (see chapter 7 of this bulletin).

Barsky, Carl B. and Martin E. Personick. “ Measuring Wage Disper­
sion: Pay Ranges Reflect Industry Traits,” Monthly Labor
Review, April 1981, pp. 35-41.

Linked to Corporate Work Force Size,” Monthly Labor Review,
May 1982, pp. 23-28.

Charles M. O’Connor
Office of Wages
and Industrial Relations

Sieling, M. S. “ Matrix Interpretation o f Pay Structures,” Monthly
Labor Review, November 1979, pp. 41-45.

Buckley, John E. “ Wage Differences Among Workers in the Same
Job and Establishment,” Monthly Labor Review , March 1985, pp.
11-16.

Schwenk, Albert E. and Martin E. Personick “ Analyzing Earnings
Differentials in Industry Wage Surveys,” Monthly Labor Review,
June 1974, pp. 56-59.

Carlson, Norma W. “ Time Rates Tighten Their Grip on Manufactur­
ing Industries,” Monthly Labor Review, May 1982, pp. 15-22.

Stelluto, George L. “ Federal Pay Comparability: Facts to Temper the
Debate,” Monthly Labor Review, June 1979, pp. 18-28.

Douty H. M. “ A Century o f Wage Statistics: The BLS Contribution,”
Monthly Labor Review, November 1984, pp. 16-28.

U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics. BLS Hand­
book o f Methods, Bulletin 2134-1, 1982, pp. 67-73.

H ouff, James N. “ Improving Area Wage Survey Indexes,” Monthly
Labor Review, January 1973, pp. 52-57.

U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics. Major Pro­
grams: Bureau o f Labor Statistics, Report 693, 1982, pp. 15-17.

Personick, Martin E. “ White-collar Pay Determination Under
Range-of-rate Systems,” Monthly Labor Review, December 1984,
pp. 25-30.

Van Giezen, Robert W. “ A New Look at Occupational Wages within
Individual Establishments,” Monthly Labor Review, November
1982, pp. 22-28.

Personick, Martin E. and Carl B. Barsky. “ White-collar Pay Levels

13

Figure 2.1
Table 1. Average hourly earninge by selected characteristics
(Number of production workers and average straight-time hourly earnings' in men’s and boys’ suits and coat manufacturing establishments by selected characteristics, United States and selected regions,2 June
1984)
United States1
3
2
Characteristic

Number of
workers

Average
hourly
earnings

New England
Number of
workers

Average
hourly
earnings

Border States

Middle Atlantic
Number of
workers

Average
hourly
earnings

Number of
workers

Average
hourly
earnings

4,642
780
3,862

$6.65
7.73
6.44

1,485

4.97

4,308

6.73

-

642
4,000

4.52
7.00

-

-

4,524

6.73

5.36
5.45
”

“

“

4,190
-

6.82
”

5.63
5.52
-

“

-

“
642

4.52

-

-

-

3,976

6.89

7.10
-

2,678
7,213

6.30
5.08

6,012
14,088

6.26
6.73

1,673
2,919

7.05
6.77

8,767

$5.47

-

-

6.69

13,821

6.71

3,947

6.74

9,891

5.41

3,024
-

6.70
-

9,335
4,486
559
5,720

6.63
6.87
7.57
6.21

3,415
“

6.79
“

7,176
1,907
-

1,780
-

6.58
-

9,241
9,072
1,578

6.78
6.57
5.77

3,556
695
-

6.97
6.66
-

4,348
2,393
-

6.64

4,167

6.72

19,824

6.60

4,431

6.96

-

5.03

“

276

5.74

“

$6.59
7.49
6.26

4,592

Size of community:
Metropolitan areas5 ................................
Nonmetropolitan a re a s ..........................

33,334
13,382

6.56
5.62

4,167
-

6.72
-

17,204
2,896

Size of establishment:
5-249 workers.........................................
250 workers or more .............................

11,513
35,203

6.00
6.39

3,314

$6.68

38,999

6.29

3,768

30,035
8,080
1,199
6,518

6.27
6.40
7.61
6.10

23,006
15,835
4,008

6.45
6.56
5.30

-

36,547
10,169

1 Excludes premium pay for overtime and for work on weekends, holidays, and late shifts.
2 For definition of regions, see footnote 1, table A-1, appendix A.
3 Includes data for regions in addition to those shown separately.
4 Includes data for workers not classified by sex; also includes data for workers in types of estab­
lishments and by major products in addition to those shown separately.
5 Metropolitan Statistical Areas as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget through
June 1983.
'

-

-

“

8,163

Average
hourly
earnings

4.86

2,609
-

20,100
5,558
13,855

5.11

1,485

$4.97

6.61
6.49

$6.72
7.29
6.51

Number of
workers

1,323

3,547

4,167
1,144
3,023

Labor-management contract coverage:
Establishments with—
Majority of workers covered..............
None or minority of workers
covered................................................

Number of
workers

$5.41
5.74
5.37

$6.29
7.23
6.03

$6.87

Average
hourly
earnings

9,891
973
8,918

46,716
9,193
36,161

Major product:
Men’s su its..............................................
Men’s separate tailored jac kets..........
Uniforms (nonathletic)............................

Number of
workers

6.67

All production workers4 .............................
Men ..........................................................
W om en.....................................................

Type of establishment: '
Regular shops.........................................
Regular shops with—
Cutting and sewing operations .........
Sewing operations only.......................
Cutting shops..........................................
Contract shops .......................................

Average
hourly
earnings

Great Lakes

Southwest

Southeast

-

-

677

$3.93

~

6 For definition of types of establishments, see appendix A.
NOTE: Dashes indicate that no data were reported or that data do not meet publication criteria.
SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industry Wage Survey: Men’s and Boys’ Suits and Coats,

June 1984, Bulletin 2230,1985.

Figure 2.2
T«W « 4. O ccupational averages: AN establishm ents
(Number of workers and average straight-time hourly earnings' in selected occupations in men's and boys' suits and coat manufacturing establishments, United States and selected regions,2 June 1984)
New England

United States1
3
2

Cutting
Cutters, cloth ..........................................
Cutters, lining..........................................
Cutters and markers, cloth ...................
Markers....................................................
Spreaders................................................
Coat fabrication
Basters, hand..........................................
Button sewers, han d ..............................
Buttonhole makers, h a n d ......................
Collar setters, hand................................
Finishers, h a n d .......................................
Fitters.......................................................
Inspectors, fin a l......................................
Pairers and turners ................................
Pressers, finish, h a n d ............................
Pressers, finish, m achine......................
Sewing-machine operators9 ..................
B asters..............................................
Button sewing...................................
Buttonhole m aking...........................
Collar preparing, except piecing or
padding...........................................
Collar setting.....................................
Facing tacking..................................
Fell body lining, bottom and side...
Join shoulder, doth .........................
Join side s e a m s ...............................
Join undercollar, join sleeve lining.
or piece po ckets...........................
Lining makers, body.........................
Pad collar and lapels.......................
Pocket setting and tacking.............
Sew darts, c lo th ...............................
Sew edge t a p e .................................
Sew in sle eve s.................................
Sleeve making, c lo th .......................
Tape arm holes.................................
1
2
3
4

Border States

Southeast

Southwest

Great Lakes

Women

Men

Total4
Occupation

Middle Atlantic

Number Average Number Average Number Average Number Average Number Average Number Average
hourly
hourly
of
hourly
hourly
of
hourly
hourly
of
of
of
of
Number Average Number Average Number Average
hourly workers earnings workers earnings workers earnings workers earnings workers earnings workers earnings
of
hourly
hourly
of
of
workers earnings workers earnings workers earnings

742
227
454
213
328

278
69
121
112
790
442
859
563
532
2,337
19,590
2,026
397
312

6.71
6.50
6.59
6.88
6.54
7.20
5.62
5.91
7.40
7.07
6.17
6.38
6.23
6.36

362
585
303
592
357
451

6.82
6.54
5.93
6.14
6.16
6.12

839
723
101
1,341
505
425
1,006
809
411

6.24
6.24
6.84

6.39
6.02
6.51
6.45
6.28
6.20

40

$9.71
8.35
7.36

6.60
6.51
6.55
6.25
6.52
6.83
5.49
5.94
6.51
6.05
6.09
6.29
6.19
6.27

39
50
64
16
172
1,793
93
30
14

6.37
6.46
6.41
8.38
9.31
6.77
6.86
7.78
7.34

180
37
58
76
399
172
413
294
204
990
7,810
826
164
127

6.80
6.28
6.48
7.13
6.35
7.36
5.75
5.78
7.76
7.65
6.53
6.61
6.37
6.68

552
286
578
338
428

6.70
6.44
5.82
6.10
6.06
6.01

30
29
12
30
28
48

7.43
7.29
6.73
7.00
6.83
6.81

129
277
106
189
160
171

802
688
92
1,226
503
388
932
776
394

6.21
6.17
6.62
6.22
6.01
6.38
6.29
6.22
6.13

70
56
8
109
25
42
70
64
24

7.07
7.25
6.85
7.41
6.53
7.53
6.73
6.63
6.65

392
290
65
555
180
179
359
402
191

563
193
343
116
224

$9.46
8.88
9.65
8.30
6.19

49

$9.02
8.77
9.40
7.32
6.56

7.17
7.95
8.46
8.07
7.89
-

226
68
115
70
758
342
758
497
232
1,034
18,527
1,902
385
298

8.05
-

339

39
-

88
282
1,223
28
-

-

-

8
”

9.29
*

151
34
90
-

$7.50
8.14
6.03
-

Excludes premium pay for overtime and for work on weekends, holidays, and late shifts.
For definition of regions, see footnote 1, table A-1, appendix A.
Includes data for regions in addition to those shown separately.
Includes data for workers not classified by sax.

49
22
-

-

355 $10.67
99
9.87
223 10.28
67
9.73
78
7.17

136
10
86
34

45
110

$6.55
6.64
6.31
5.38

7
8
126
76
83
31
95
225
1,667
285
32
26

7.78
6.76
6.87
7.72
6.15
6.22
6.81
6.32
6.71
6.91
6.23
6.83

56
185
92
68
598
5,283
449
114
90

6.36
4.92
5.31
6.62
6.06
5.35
5.52
5.37
5.81

6.81
6.92
6.26
6.75
6.40
6.31

34
20
25
66
23
32

7.94
7.08
6.69
6.10
6.58
7.34

86
131
126
223
90
108

6.54
5.86
5.31
5.60
5.79
5.52

6.49
6.40
7.05
6.90
6.71
6.82
7.16
6.51
6.48

79
53
9
116
45
67
161
41
50

6.72
6.59
5.92
6.58
6.53
6.62
6.36
6.90
6.17

204
228

5.53
5.96
5.46
5.39
5.46
5.66
5.28
5.70

-

-

$8.17
7.94
9.62
7.45
-

100
25
-

-

338
202
80
266
117
86

22
13
15

27
94
628
14
14
11
30
16
20
45
18
-

$5.52
6.57
3.96

4.42
5.40
4.73
4.82
4.10
4.75
4.26
4.35
4.43
4.10
4.70

57
16

21
62
151
1,660
238
32
53
76
28
30
45
-

30
20

4.81
4.17

6.93
6.03
7.58
6.70
6.59
7.60
6.97
6.96
6.19
6.22
5.92
-

65
17
46

-

$8.71
5.87

104
25

5.99
6.69
6.13
6.82
7.62

5 Includes data for workers in classification in addition to those shown separately.
*
NOTE: Dashes indicate that no data were reported or that data da not meet publication criteria
SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industry Wage Survey: Men’s and Boys’ Suits and Coats,

June 1984, Bulletin 2230, 1985.

arnings: New York, N.Y.'—All establishments
straight-time hourly earnings2 in selected occupations in men’s and boys' suit and coat manufacturing establishments, June 1984)
Percent of workers receiving straight-time hourly earnings (in dollars) of—
Number Average 3.35
3.50
(mean)
of
workers earnings inHpr
3.50 3.75
2,724
1,198
1,526

$7.18
8.07
6.48
10.58
11.67
8.93
9.72

11
5
154

19
9
73
24
18
6

49
23
26
51
12
8

44
35
142
128
105

7.01
7.82
7.18
8.15
6.06
5.97
5.85
6.41
6.35
6.36
7.67
8.72
9.22
6.10
6.20
6.43
7.66
8.09
7.31
9.73
5.73
6.59
6.61
6.54
5.30
4.97
5.59
4.76
5.78
5.89
7.62
7.54
7.84
8.03
8.42

6.00

6.50

7.00

6.00

6.50

7.00

4
2
6

4
3
5

4
3
4

11
8
13

-

4.75

5.00

5.25

4.50

5.00

5.25

2
1
3

3
2
4

2
1
2

4
2
6

4.00

4.25

4.00

4.25

2
1
3

2
2
3

1
1
2

2
1
3

5.75

5.50

5.50
5.75

4.50
4.75

3.75

8.50

9.00

7.50

8.00
8.50

9.00

9.50

9
8
10

8
8
9

8
8
9

8
10
6

5
6
4

6
9
3

3
6
2

-

1

7

23
41

27
9
15
18

.
1
-

-

-

_

-

-

-

-

_

-

12
14

-

-

_
_
-

_

13
13

-

-

-

-

-

4
5
32

-

-

-

-

-

-

12
14
-

-

-

8
9
10
5
4

-

-

-

13
13
8

6
7
6
12
14
21
4
13
17

-

-

1

5
14
15
17
10
8
6
13
13
6

2
-

-

6

-

3

-

5
3
3
-

5

-

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

1
-

-

-

-

-

10
4

-

~

-

-

18
-

-

-

-

-

-

5

-

5
3

-

-

-

-

5

-

5
3
3

-

-

_

1

8
9

-

“

-

_____

_

-

1
6

-

“

16
17
10
20
15
18

2

-

-

-

-

5

-

-

-

-

3

3
3
3
-

4

-

5
3

-

3
3
3
5

-

"

.

-

-

2
-

-

_

_

-

-

-

8
9

2
3
10

5
-

-

15
-

-

-

-

-

-

-

"

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

-

7
4
6

-

-

6
-

5
13
17

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

17
12
26

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

8
17

12
26

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

8
25
38

10
8

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2
8
13

-

2
4
-

27

2
4

-

6

50
12

-

24
-

-

-

-

-

-

2
4

9
11

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

“

“

“

9
11

-

2

1
-

-

10
4
6

-

2

2
1

4

10
2
3
1
2
2

-

-

-

2
4

-

-

-

4
3
3

-

-

-

1
2

rea co n sists of New York City (Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, and Richmond
, and W estchester Counties.
ertime and for work on weekends, holidays, and late shifts.

1

1
1

5
5
5

10.00 10.50 11.00 11.50 12.00 12.50 13.00 13.50
and
'
10.00 10.50 11.00 11.50 12.00 12.50 13.00 13.50 over

7.50
*
8.00

14
10
20
5
19
23
5
6
6
7
7
4
6
13
13
13
9
11
16
7
4
-

17
8
4
12
10
33
13
9
11
11

11
4

-

-

.

-

-

-

-

~

“

4
7
20
-

5
3
-

7
4
6
13
13
16
15
18
26
-

8
17
17
17
4
9
-

6
-

11
11
12

4
3
10

16
7

5
10

7
10

-

_

-

15

4
5
14
14
15
17
7
4
6
13
13
5
9
11
5
22
5
17
22

-

15
4
5
-

-

10
27
18
18
36
38
34
-

13
15
11
-

33
11
17
11
33
8

-

6
3
3
13
17
6
6
7
4
3
4

1
2
<
3)

4

18

1
2
1
4
4
8
9

8
3

-

-

-

46
55

-

1
1
<
3)

-

20

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

7
13

-

-

-

20
29
44
6
7
6
6
7
5
11

5
8
13

*

_

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1
9
11
16
-

1
3
4
5
-

1
4
6

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

-

2
4
6

-

3
4
5

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

6

-

_

-

-

-

-

7

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

15
4
17
25
11
6

-

23
2
8
13
7
9
15

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

11
11
10

9
3
5
5
6

17
21

-

_

~

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2
3
2

2
2

14
17
5
4
5

2
3
4
5
6

-

-

-

-

7
9
5
5
7

2
3
-

-

-

-

16
11
6
5
6

22

-

-

-

4

-

-

17
12

-

6

-

-

-

-

2

4

-

-

-

8

13

-

-

-

1

3
( 3)

_

~

-

-

4
19
-

-

-

-

1
2
(3)

-

“

7
13o

-

<
3)
1
(3)
3

-

-

11
20
30
15
5

2
3
1

3
6
1

-

-

-

11
10
4

9.50

-

-

”

-

-

1
1
1

2
2
3

-

-

-

-

-

*
-

-

“

-

1
1
1

4
5
6

NOTE: Because of rounding, sum s of individual items may not equal totals. Overall occupation may iriclude
data for subcategories not shown separately. D ashes indicate no data.
SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, In d u stry Wage Survey: M en's a n d B o ys' S u its a n d Coats,
Bulletin 2230, 1985.

1984,

Figure 2.4
Table 4. Percent o f production w orkers in men’s and boys’ suit and coat m anufacturing establishm ents having form al provisions fo r selected em ployee benefits, United
States and selected regions,1 June 1984
Benefit
All workers ..............................................
Paid holidays
Workers in establishments providing paid
holidays..........................................................
4 days .........................................................
5 days .........................................................
5 days plus 2 half d a y s ...........
6 days.........................................................
7 days .........................................................
8 days .........................................................
9 days .........................................................
10 days .......................................................
11 days .......................................................
12 days .......................................................
Paid vacations4
Workers in establishments providing paid
vacations.......................................................
Length-of-time payment ...........................
Percentage paym ent.................................
Amount o f vacation pay
After 1 year of service:
1 w e e k ........................................................
Over 1 and under 2 w e e k s .....................
2 weeks ......................................................
Over 2 and under 3 w e e k s .....................
Q u/oolrc ..... .................. ..
O nuvIVg
After 2 years of service:
1 w e e k ........................................................
Over 1 and under 2 w e e k s .....................
2 weeks ......................................................
3 weeks ......................................................
After 3 years of service:
1 w e e k ........................................................
Over 1 and under 2 w e e k s .....................
3 weeks ......................................................
After 5 years of service:
1 w e e k ........................................................
Over 1 and under 2 w e e k s ......................
2 weeks ......................................................
Over 2 and under 3 w e e k s .....................
3 weeks ......................................................

United
States3
100

100

New
Middle Border South­ South­
east
west
England Atlantic States
100

100

100

100

100

100

0
5
(*)
3
4
6
2
73
5
0

100
88
12

15
2
5
1
76

5
1
15
79
3
1
16
79
1
(*)
16
1
82

2
2

0

-

0
99

1
91
8

83
14

100

100
2
24
8
16
29
3
17

100

100

Great
Lakes

100

2
6
11
80

1

100
99
1

100
100

0

100
97
3

100
48
52

100
81
19

100
98
2

10
3
2

56
9
17

38

2

1
100

8

99

85

17

54

6
11
80

-

100

(*)
99

_

0
100

99

(*)
100

99

2
3
2
93

15
3
62
20

2
3
2
93

12
3
65
20

27
54

2

-

19

3
4
93

65
5
28

19
27
54

United
States2

New
Middle Border South­ South­
west
England Atlantic States
east

Great
Lakes

100

8
13
25

54

Benefit

Amount of vacation pay—Continued
After 10 years of service:
1 w e e k ........................................................
Over 1 and under 2 w eeks.....................
2 weeks ......................................................
Over 2 and under 3 w eeks.....................
3 weeks ......................................................
4 weeks ......................................................
After 20 years of service:5
1 w e e k ........................................................
Over 1 and under 2 w eeks.....................
2 weeks ......................................................
Over 2 and under 3 w eeks.....................
3 weeks ......................................................
4 weeks ......................................................
Health, insurance and retirement plans*
Life insurance..................................................
Noncontributory plans..............................
Accidental death and dismemberment
insurance.......................................................
Noncontributory plans..............................
Sickness and accident insurance or sick
leave or both7 ...............................................
Sickness and accident insurance ..........
Noncontributory plans......................
Sick leave (full pay, no waiting period) ..
Sick leave (partial pay or waiting period)
Long-term disability insurance......................
Noncontributory plans..............................

1
0
12
1
84
2
1
o
12
1
10
76

-

-

-

-

99

93

3
4

(*)
1
99 °

19

49
5
36
8

21

2

60

98

2

0
100

2
3
4

19
21

2

54
6

6
92

3
97

93

49
5
24
20

97
93

100
100

99
97

100
100

88
78

100
55

100
100

29
26

1
1

6
6

14
14

65
55

38
0

100
100

84
82
79
1
6
1
1

100
100
100

99
99
98
1
11
3
3

96
96
96

36
29
17

68
62
54
6
-

98
98
98

96
88
96
88
96
88
36
27
8
8
94
94
91
4

100
100
100
100
100
100
1
1

99
98
99
98
99
98
24
22
4
4
99
99
99

100
98
100
98
100
98
29
27

88
59
88
59
85
59
71
42

100
55
100
55
100
55
46
(*)

100
96
96
4

82
82
70
16

54
54
54

92
92
92
92
92
92
43
43
60
60
100
100
100

-

-

7

-

-

-

-

-

-

2
6
92

19
2
6
92

27

98

Major medical insurance ................................
Noncontributory plans..............................
Dental insurance..............................................
Noncontributory plans...............................
Retirement plans*............................................

2

54

Hospitalization insurance...............................
Noncontributory plans..............................
Surgical insurance ...........................................
Noncontributory plans..............................
Medical insurance ...........................................

' For definitions of regions see footnote 2, table 1.
2 Includes data for regions in addition to those shown separately.
3 Less than 0.5 percent
4 Vacation payments, such as percent of annual earnings, were converted to an equivalent time
basis. Periods of service were chosen arbitrarily and do not necessarily reflect individual establish­
ment provisions for progression. For example, changes indicated at 10 years may include changes
that occurred between 5 and 10 years.
5 Vacation provisions were virtually the same after longer periods of service.
* Includes those plans for which the employer pays at least part of the cost and excludes legally

Noncontributory plans......................
Severance p a y ...........................................

100
100
100

_

required plans such as workers’ compensation and Social Security; however, plans required by State
temporary disability insurance laws are included if the employer contributes more than is legally re­
quired or employees receive benefits over legal requirements. "Noncontributory plans” include only
those plans financed entirely by the employer.
7 Unduplicated total of workers receiving sickness and accident insurance and sick leave shown
separately.
* Unduplicated total of workers covered by pension plans and severance pay shown separately.
NOTE; Because of rounding, sums of individual items may not equal totals. Dashes indicate no data.
SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Earnings and Benefits, Men’s and Boys’
Suit and Coat Manufacturing, June 1984, Summary 84-11,1984.

Figure 2.5
Table A-1. Weekly earnings of office workers in New York, N.Y.-N.J., May 1984

Occupation and industry
division

Number
of
workers

Average
weekly
hours'
(stand­
ard)

Weekly earnings
(indoNars)'

Mean’

Median1

Number of workers receiving straight-time weekly earnings (in dollars) of —

Middle range*

120
and
under
140

.

160

140
160
22
22

40.198
10,119
30,079

36.0
36.5
36.0

362 50
372.00
359.00

351.50
358.00
350.00

307.50- 409.50
318.00- 418.00
307.00- 405.00

-

-

Secretaries I....................................
Manufacturing...............................
Nonmanufacturing........................

7,156
462
6.694

35.0
36.0
35.0

298.50
281.00
300.00

299.50
269 00
301.50

259.00- 329.00
240.00- 304.00
259.50- 330.00

_

_

Secretaries II...................................
Manufacturing...............................
Nonmanufacturing........................

9,556
2,174
7,382

36.0
37.0
36.0

326.50
31500
330.00

327.00
317.50
332.50

297.00- 357.50
291.00- 334 50
298.50- 365.00

Secretaries III..................................
Manufacturing...............................
Nonmanufacturing........................
Transportation and utilities.....

9.331
2,971
6,360
1,991

36.5
36.5
36.0
36.0

377.00
370.50
380 00
421.50

371.00
367.00
374.50
421.00

326.50337.00324 00384.00-

419.00
396.00
432 00
470.50

Secretaries IV .................................
Manufacturing...............................
Nonmanufacturing........................
Transportation and utilities.....

10,339
2.951
7,388
930

36.0
36.0
36.0
37.0

396.50
394.50
397.00
463.00

386.00
391.00
388.00
471.00

345.50335.00352.50407.00-

441.50
456.00
433.00
534.00

Secretaries V ..................................
Manufacturing...............................
Nonmanufacturing........................
Transportation and utilities.....

3,449
1,377
2.072
282

36.0
36.5
36.0
37.0

454.50
451.00
456.50
513.00

453.00
452.50
455.00
517.00

386.00392.00379.00447.00-

518.50
517.00
518.50
578.50

Stenographers....................................
Nonmanufacturing........................
Transportation and utilities.....

1,161
1,064
178

36.5
36.5
39.0

293.00
291.50
368.00

268.50
265.50
396.50

241.50- 340.50
237.50- 340.50
296.00- 419 00

Stenographers I ..............................
Nonmanufacturing........................
Transportation and utilities.....

434
379
73

37.0
37.0
38.5

264 50
253.00
337.50

243.50
237.50
384.50

226.00- 275.50
224 50- 256.50
265.00- 389.00

Stenographers II.............................
Nonmanufacturing........................

727
685

36.5
36.5

310.00
313.00

297.00
300.00

261.50- 361.00
261.50- 365.00

T ranscribmg-machine typists...........
Nonmanufacturing........................

302
247

36.0
36.0

282.50
291.00

268.50
281.00

Typists..................................................
Manufacturing...............................
Nonmanufacturing........................
Transportation and utilities.....

6,146
702
5,444
369

36.0
37.0
36.0
38.5

230.00
256.00
226.50
304.00

Typists I ...........................................
Manufacturing...............................
Nonmanufacturing........................

4,171
524
3,647

36.0
37.0
36.0

Typists II...........................................
Manufacturing...............................
Nonmanufacturing........................
Transportation and utilities.....

1,975
176
1,797
162

File clerks............................................
Manufacturing...............................
Nonmanufacturing........................
Transportation and utilities.....

3,052
456
2,594
81

-

200

180

Secretaries...........................................
Manufacturing...............................
Nonmanufacturing........................

200

180

220

220

260

240

260

280

300

320

340

360

380

400

420

440

460

480

300

320

340

360

380

400

420

440

460

480

500

520
and
over

500

280

240

520

13
13

252
34
218

494
90
404

1024
157
867

1582
220
1362

1909
418
1491

2904
635
2269

4277
1054
3223

4886
1349
3537

4372
1122
3250

3774
998
2776

3274
797
2477

2498
713
1785

2248
528
1720

1711
449
1262

1597
402
1195

923
354
569

699
266
433

1739
511
1228
-

-

-

8
8

34
8
26

289
61
228

681
46
635

863
72
791

703
76
627

1036
76
960

1170
37
1133

966
34
932

752
16
736

289
6
283

193
193

100
100

15
7
8

21
6
15

19
19

3
3
“

14
14

_

22
22

183
183

173
173

195
31
164

507
92
415

676
224
452

865
289
576

1558
491
1067

1664
576
1088

1371
251
1120

909
92
817

562
34
528

251
39
212

385
29
356

96
3
93

84
84

44
44

3

-

3

8
1
7

4
1
3

32
10
22

120
21
99

556
115
441
19

879
268
611
78

1033
327
706
61

1067
462
605
128

1134
581
553
172

981
455
526
248

854
302
552
281

572
140
432
215

436
94
342
157

692
36
656
380

185
34
151
23

176
13
163
102

253
67
186
123

*

“

-

-

_

9
9
-

-

-

*

347
45
302
4

22
22
-

-

75
44
31
2

85
31
54
6

141
48
93
14

414
136
278
15

554
219
335
38

1034
329
705
4

981
292
689
8

1044
227
817
17

1351
211
1140
90

997
201
796
103

955
231
724
77

811
262
549
54

557
248
309
59

457
213
244
67

226
129
97
45

635
106
527
• 331

4
4
-

28
28
-

39
24
15

4
2
2

21
13
8

64
15
49
1

124
47
77
2

148
73
75

-

14
1
13
1

359
82
277
6

153
83
70
2

265
153
112
3

295
113
182
52

332
74
258
16

241
116
125
28

231
104
127
3

280
110
170
28

•8 4 3
335
508
140

23
23
3

188
188
7

178
178
7

204
160
25

69
59
5

63
51
1

78
62
2

52
50

40
38
14

62
58
25

80
80
68

34
34
11

19
18
10

-

3
-

1
"

2
”

130
130
7

95
95
7

34
32
7

17
7
5

15
3
1

18
2
2

2
-

2
-

28
24
24

15
15
15

2
2
2

1
“

-

3
-

1

2

-

-

-

“

“

-

-

1
1
-

_

_

_

-

-

-

-

-

-

*

-

-

_

_

-

-

4
4

-

-

-

-

_
-

-

1
1

64
64

-

-

-

-

-

-

1
1

47
47

-

-

-

-

21
21
3

_

_

-

-

2
2

58
58

83
83

170
128

52
52

48
48

60
60

50
50

38
38

34
34

65
65

32
32

18
18

-

-

17
17

230.50- 289.50
232.00- 289.50

-

_

-

-

-

2
2

11
11

86
62

37
14

26
22

81
81

4
2

4
2

4
4

27
27

2
2

-

-

*

4
4

4
4

2
2

2
2

2
2

4
4

223.00
242.00
220.00
265.00

190.00220.00190.00231.50-

257.50
274.00
256.50
404.50

_

257
257

798
56
742
19

1125
202
923
82

720
160
560
45

693
75
618
20

301
31
270
25

168
40
128
13

93
29
64
4

37
9
28
11

12
5
7
7

18
8
10
7

32
2
30
30

9
3
6
5

99
9
90
70

3
3
-

2
2
-

-

-

998
54
944
25

9
9
-

-

772
5
767
6

214.50
244.50
210.50

210.50
230.00
206.00

184.00- 235.00
220.00- 252.00
177.00- 231.00

_

256
256

718
5
713

787
54
733

621
54
567

831
195
636

400
106
294

301
40
261

85
9
76

56
23
33

50
16
34

29
1
28

5
5

9
1
8

3
3

1
1
-

9
9
-

9
9

-

1
1
“

-

3 60
36.0
36.0
38.5

262 50
291.00
259.50
362.00

256.50
274.00
253.00
404.50

224.50248.50222.50250.00-

284.00
310.00
279.50
440.00

54
54

211
211

177
2
175
-

-

216
22
194
3

112
17
95
-

43
13
30
-

8
8
-

7
5
2
2

9
7
2
1

29
2
27
27

8
2
6
5

90
90
70

3
3
-

1
1

-

320
54
266
18

-

-

294
7
287
36

392
35
357

-

1
1
-

_

-

-

3 65
37.0
36.0
37.5

202.50
218.00
199 50
289.00

193.00
192.50
193.50
231.00

170.00170.00166.50180.00-

223.50
224.50
222 50
384.50

96
96
-

341
32
309
5

615
145
470
-

708
95
613
18

402
52
350
-

455
40
415
19

142
13
129
1

115
8
107
-

37
16
21
1

43
5
38
3

16
9
7
-

5
5
-

9
2
7
2

29
10
19
19

10
5
5
5

16
8
8
8

9
9
-

3
3
-

_

_

-

-

1
1
-

-

-

-

-

-

-

_

1 Standard hours reflect th e workweek for which em ployees receive their regular straight-tim e
salaries (exclusive of pay for overtime at regular and/or premium rates), and the earnings correspond
to th e se weekly hours.
2The m ean is com puted for each job by totaling the earnings of all workers and dividing by the
number of workers. The m edian d esig n ates position—one-half of the workers receive the sam e a s or
more and one-half receive th e sam e a s or less than the rate shown. The middle range is defined by

*

-

“

*

“
-

-

two rates of pay; one-fourth of the workers earn the sam e a s or less than the lower of th e se rates and
one-fourth earn the sam e a s or mord than the higher rate.
SOURCE: Bureau of Labor S tatistics, A rea W age S u rvey: N e w York, N e w Y ork— N e w Jersey,
M e tro p o lita n A rea, M ay 1984, Bulletin 3025-30, 1984.
• Workers were distributed as follows: 246 at $520.00 to $560.00; 83 at $560.00 to $600.00; 1 at $600.00 to $640.00; and
1 at $680.00 to $720.00.
* * Workers were distributed as follows: 370 at $520.00 to $560.00; 283 at $560.00 to $600.00; 165 at $600.00 to $640.00;
16 at $640.00 to $680.00; 5 at $680.00 to $720.00; 2 at $720.00 to $760.00; and 2 at $760.00 and over

Figure 2.6
T a b le A-7. In d e x e s o f e a rn in g s an d p e rc en t in creases fo r se le c te d occu p atio n a l g rou ps, N ew Y o rk, N .Y .-N .J., s e le c te d p erio ds
All industries
Period'

Office
clerical

Indexes (May 1977=100):
May 1983...............................................................................................
May 1984.................................................
Percent increases:
May 1975 to May 1976...................................................................................
May 1976 to May 1977...................................................................................
May 1977 to May 1978...................................................................................
May 1978 to May 1979................................................................................. .
May 1979 to May 1980...................................................................................
May 1980 to May 1981...................................................................................
May 1981 to May 1982................................................................................ .
May 1982 to May 1983
May 1983 to May 1984...................................................................................

Electronic
data
processing

154.4
163.8
6.3
5.8
5.8
6.1
7.5
9.5
9.2
6.9
6.1

Manufacturing

Industrial
nurses

Skilled
mainte­
nance

Unskilled
plant

153.8
163.5

159.8
170.0

160.2
170.3

6.8
5.8
5.3
5.5
8.7
10.3
7.4
7.5
6.3

6.7
6.8
6.6
6.4
10.6
8.0
9.6
7.7
6.4

7.9
6.4
7.1
7.9
9.0
8.5
8.9
7.6
6.3

Office
clerical

Electronic
data
processing

153.6
161.9

156.4
166.6

10.6
7.3
5.8
7.0
5.5
9.0
8.9
8.4
5.4

7.3
7.1
6.4
6.7
8.0
9.0
9.4
7.0
6.5

’ Estimates for periods ending prior to 1976 relate to men only for skilled maintenance and unskilled plant workers.
All other estim ates relate to men and women.

Nonmanufacturing

Industrial
nurses

. Skilled
mainte­
nance

Unskilled
plant

157.5
168.1

160.6
168.3

161.4
171.6

6.4
6.6
6.3
6.0
9.4
9.0
8.9
7.6
6.7

8.2
6.4
6.7
5.8
12.2
7.9
9.5
7.3
4.8

7.8
7.0
5.3
7.9
10.1
8.8
9.8
8.0
6.3

Office
clerical

Electronic
data
processing

Industrial
nurses

Unskilled
plant

158.0
166.7

153.4
162.6

153.3
162.8

159.8
171.8

153.3
161.4

7.2
7.3
5.8
7.7
8.3
9.2
9.6
7.0
5.5

6.0
5.4
5.5
5.8
7.4
9.7
9.1
6.9
6.0

6.9
5.6
5.1
5.4
8.6
10.6
7.1
7.5
6.2

5.4
7.1
6.5
7.0
9.2
8.2
9.7
8.1
7.5

11.0
7.3
5.8
7.0
5.2
9.0
8.8
8.6
5.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Area Wage Survey: New York, New York— New Jersey, M etropolitan Area,
May 1984, Bulletin 3025-30, 1984.

F ig u re 2.7

• T a b le A -8. P ay rela tio n s h ip s in es tab lish m en ts w ith paired o ffic e clerical o c cu p atio n s , N ew Y o rk, N .Y .-N .J., M ay 1984
Occupation for which average earnings equal 100
Occupation for which earnings
are compared

Secretaries
I

Secretaries I........................................................
Secretaries II....................................................................... ,......................
Secretaries III..............................................................................................
Secretaries IV..............................................................................................
Secretaries V........................................................
Stenographers I..........................................................................................
Stenographers II.........................................................................................
Transcribing-machine typists......................................................................
Typists I......................................................................................................
Typists II.....................................................................................................
File clerks I.................................................................................................
File clerks II................................................
File clerks III....................................
Messengers...........................................
Switchboard operators.......................................
Switchboard operatorreceptionists......................................
Order clerks I ..............................................................................................
Accounting clerks I.....................................................................................
Accounting clerks II....................................................................................
Accounting clerks III...................................................................................
Accounting clerks IV..................................................................................
Payroll clerks...............................................................................................
Key entry operators I..................................................................................
Key entry operators II..................................................

II

III
77
84

IV

V

Tran­
scrib­
Stenographers ing
ma­
I
chine
II
typists

Typists

File clerks

I

II

I

II

III

121
123
124
140
176
89
C)
116
78

102
115
118
136
168
89
109
142
76
96
70
82

Switch­
Switch­ board Order
Messen- board opera- clerks
tor
gers opera­
I
tors -recep­
tionists

100

86

117
130
148
160
C)
110
91
74
82
67
68
98
69
87

100

119
134
145
79
C)
96
73
82
62
69
87
66
91

100

68
75
81

124
137
92
125
84
67
81
59
68
84
61
81

120
62
78
68
58
71
52
57
73
53
68

100

C)
126
109
160
192

52
62
60
50
57
44
49
60
44
56

116
C)
89
113
79
87
113
85
106

100

(•)
(•)
(•)
(•)
83
92
74
92

100

135
137
150
173
199
112
C)
124

81
86
67
75
70
72
99

129
87
103
132
101
123

100

150
160
171
192
227
127
C)
149
115
140

72
81
104
80
99

100

147
144
147
177
206
115
121
133
97
124
87

115
142
96
124

122
98
120

100

76
87

100

116
110
124
147
177
94
109
101
81
101
80
84
115
78

128

100

91
70
87
94
108
131
97
92
95

86
76
78
86
99
118
96
87
103

74
80
71
77
91
107
94
81
91

73
60
62
68
81
84
79
71
76

59

C)
C)

96
109
128
167
125
111
121

C)
C)
C)

C)

C)
C)

97
95

107
118
142
160
145
117
138

82
97
115
127
116
82
101

135
93
110
129
154
175
149
132
151

C)
C)

85
113
145
C)
87
113

106
115
113
123
136
165
140
126
148

105
101

53
59
72
80
72
59
64

C)
C)
C)

149

C)

100

62
69
73
84

100

91
C)
80
129
160
86

* Data do not meet publication criteria or data not available.
NOTE. This matrix table shows the average (mean) relationship of earnings in establishments between any two oc­
cupations compared. Earnings for an occupation in the table stub are expressed as a percent of the earnings for an
occupation in the column heading at the point where the data lines for the two intersect. For example, reading across

109
104
120
147
168
C)
C)

C)

112
82
83

100

C)

98
123
136
111
101
110

134
119
124
131
151
195
145
123
142

100

145
152
163
188
227
118
135
140
99
126
104
103
131

91
102
117
105
115
102
111

110
117
135
136
170
C)
C)

142
131
125
167
C)
C)
C)

Accounting clerks
I

II

III

IV

114
129
141
162
189
104
C)

106
117
129
146
169
92
118
104
81
102
76
84
103
78
98

93
101
110
123
139
78
88
105
74
81
66
70
87
65
85

76
85
93
119
125
60
69

97
98
86

69
103

100

90
82
74
81

123
139
115
98
114

122
99
88
99

C)

C)

C)

94
95
75
67

87
99
84

88

C)

74
(*)

C)
C)

108
(*)

100

104

96
84
103
111
145
122
94
110

100

97
102
122
97
107
98
102

Payroll
clerks

C)

81
93
122
91
110
119
103
100

117
135
C)

129
118
138

100

Key entry
operators
I

II

103
104
107
126
139
80
C)
89
72
90
69
69
86
67
87

108
115
123
141
171
90
115
122
80
99
82
86
122
76
98

105
97
110
132
156
82
89
121
68
91
70
73
99
66
90

100

82
93
77
87
101
113

88
79
98

100

106
102
84
102
114
126
107

94
104

100

91
98
72
88
101
102
96
80

125

100

C)

60
74
51
63
79
57
95

C)

72
82

the Secretaries II row, the 117 in the Secretaries I column indicates that Secretaries)II average 117 percent of (or 17 per­
cent more than) the earnings of Secretaries I.
SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Area Wage Survey: New York, New York— New Jersey, M etropolitan Area,
May 1984, Bulletin 3025-30, 1984.

Figure 2.8
T a b le A -1 3 . In te ra re a p a y c o m p ariso n s fo r se lected o c c u p a tio n a l g ro u p s , J a n u a ry th ro u g h D e c e m b e r 1984
(262-a re a average pay levels for each industry and occupational group = 1 0 0 )

Manufacturing
industries

All industries

Manufacturing
industries

All industries

Manufacturing
industries

Non­
manufacturing
industries

100

100

100

100

100

100

89
94
102
88
94
96
99
80
89
96
98
78
92
85
89

89
93
104
89
92
95
102
77
88
94
98
79
93
85
86

111
97
97
85
98
88
128
95
96
111
104
95
81
88
110

103
88
102
96
82
101
87
82
87
107
113
85
73
87
79
85

100
102
96
84
141
95
"
104
94
79
-

95
100
81
101
98
94

92
102
80
99
97
93

80
82
78
68
86
80

88
98
80
91

81
81
-

75

73

104
91

104
93
86
91
103
95
80
100
85
95

75
72

All industries

Manufacturing
industnes

All metropolitan a re as..............................

100

100

100

100

100

Northeast
Albany-Schenectady-Troy......................
Boston ......................................................
Buffalo.......................................................
Hartford.....................................................
Nassau-Suffolk........................................
Newark......................................................
New York..................................................
Northeast Pennsylvania...........................
Paterson-Clifton-Passaic........................
Philadelphia..............................................
Pittsburgh .................................................
Portland ....................................................
Poughkeepsie ..........................................
Providence-Warwick-Pawtucket ............
Trenton .....................................................
W orcester.................................................
York...........................................................

98
96
89
89
93
105
102
83
93
96
102
85
87
96
93
92

98
94
92
92
91
104
98
83
91
98
106
87
95
92

94
96
85
88
94
105
104
79

97
96
89
95
98
104
103
87
98
95
97
88
86
93
95
86

93
-

102
98
93
89
100

100
100
91
97
-

104
98
90
88
102
93
87

-

95
85
109
92
90
93
96
90
95
96
84
98

-

94
81
109
88

92
87
100
94
89
-

93

-

95
99
87
94
-

111

92
96
92
91
98
98
83
101

All industries

103
95
101
95
92
110
94

-

93
99
104
96
90
-

98
-

102
107
104
89
-

98
95
-

-

89
95
-

-

106
96
104
96
113
97
93
103
101
96

-

91
100
97
-

97
91
104
-

94

“

99

Unskilled plant

Non­
manufacturing
industries

Non­
manufacturing
industries

South
Atlanta.......................................................
Baltimore..................................................
Chattanooga.............................................
Corpus Christi ..........................................
Dallas-Fort Worth ...................................
Daytona B each ........................................
Gainesville................................................
Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point
Greenville-Spartanburg ...........................
Houston....................................................
Huntsville..................................................
Jackson ....................................................
Jacksonville..............................................
Louisville...................................................
Memphis...................................................
Miami.........................................................
New O rleans............................................
Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Portsmouth........
Oklahoma C ity.........................................

Skilled maintenance

Electronic data processing

Office clerical
Metropolitan area

SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Area Wage Surveys: Selected Metropolitan Areas, 1984, Bulletin 3025-72,1985.

88

93
,102
96
83
99
88

96

85
74
74
101
73

71
68
71
90

81
67
83
87
80
92
111

80
62
85
74
111

111

84
74
78
72

70
76
77
75

74
70
77
82

Figure 2.9
Table 1. Average salariee: United States
(Employment and average salaries for selected professional, administrative, technical, and clerical occupations in private industry,' United States, except
Alaska and Hawaii, March 1985)
Annual salaries4

Monthly salaries3
Occupation and level

Number
of
employees1
2

Middle range5

Middle range4
Mean3

Median5

First
quartile

Third
quartile

Mean5

Median5

First
quartile

Third
quartile

Accountants and auditors
1 ...................................................
I I ..................................................
III .................................................
I V .................................................
V ..................................................
V I .................................................

12,465
22,874
36,599
21,232
7,841
1,612

$1,715
2,112
2,503
3,134
3,907
4,960

$1,705
2,083
2,474
3,105
3,873
4,890

$1,524
1,875
2,205
2,832
3,556
4,451

$1,875
2,328
2,750
3,415
4,207
5,350

$20,577
25,349
30,037
37,607
46,879
59,519

$20,460
24,990
29,688
37,266
46,481
58,677

$18,293
22,500
26,460
33,986
42,667
53,414

$22,500
27,931
33,000
40,983
50,480
64,200

1...........................................................
I I ..........................................................
III.........................................................
I V ........................................................

1,855
3,627
5,185
2,345

1,761
2,155
2,604
3,270

1,708
2,097
2,550
3,208

1,583
1,925
2,280
2,916

1,934
2,375
2,840
3,607

21,128
25,854
31,246
39,243

20,492
25,166
30,600
38,496

18,992
23,100
27,360
34,986

23,208
28,500
34,075
43,283

1 ........................................
I I .......................................
I I I ......................................
IV ......................................

10,596
9,886
8,221
3,877

1,638
1,844
2,158
2,618

1,624
1,833
2,102
2,582

1,566
1,716
1,950
2,332

1,708
1,964
2,310
2,791

19,657
22,134
25,891
31,416

19,492
21,991
25,224
30,988

18,792
20,592
23,400
27,989

20,492
23,568
27,720
33,487

1 .........................................
II ........................................
III .......................................
I V .......................................

764
1,127
648
224

3,130
3,876
5,039
6,228

3,128
3,957
5,072
6,250

2,916
3,499
4,500
5,748

3,499
4,166
5,586
6,700

37,557
46,517
60,466
74,735

37,536
47,481
60,864
75,000

34,986
41,983
54,000
68,972

41,983
49,996
67,026
80,400

1,184
3,046
4,556
3,466
1,823
481

2,490
3,105
3,979
4,924
6,150
7,641

2,417
3,078
3,931
4,888
6,123
7,477

2,203
2,749
3,570
4,307
5,434
6,856

2,749
3,410
4,332
5,415
6,649
8,358

29,886
37,256
47,742
59,087
73,805
91,690

29,004
36,936
47,172
58,652
73,471
89,722

26,439
32,987
42,840
51,679
65,208
82,267

32,987
40,920
51,979
64,974
79,786
100,293

6,373
18,061
18,224
5,545

1,741
2,134
2,648
3,276

1,686
2,115
2,600
3,206

1,520
1,898
2,356
2,941

1,891
2,332
2,891
3,550

20,896
25,606
31,774
39,306

20,232
25,374
31,198
38,477

18,240
22,77/r
28,276
35,296

22,691
27,989
34,692
42,600

1................................
I I ...............................
I I I ..............................
I V .............................
V ..............................

14,201
34,235
44,128
19,279
8,517

1,693
1,974
2,364
2,809
3,441

1,691
1,999
2,343
2,817
3,468

1,499
1,792
2,158
2,595
3,248

1,885
2,158
2,560
3,034
3,700

20,318
23,690
28,367
33,708
41,288

20,292
23,990
28,116
33,804
41,618

17,993
21,498
25,894
31,140
38,976

22,618
25,894
30,723
36,408
44,400

1...........................................
I I ..........................................
I II.........................................
I V ........................................
V .........................................
V I ........................................

20,649
42,666
34,202
12,785
2,688
179

2,350
2,789
3,305
3,894
4,705
5,734

2,315
2,758
3,284
3,828
4,623
5,656

2,120
2,526
3,002
3,505
4,218
5,265

2,525
3,004
3,565
4,220
5,170
6,177

28,197
33,465
39,663
46,729
56,461
68,809

27,781
33,096
39,413
45,942
55,480
67,872

25,440
30,314
36,026
42,060
50,616
63,182

30,303
36,048
42,783
50,640
62,040
74,126

Accountants
Accountants
Accountants
Accountants
Accountants
Accountants
Auditors
Auditors
Auditors
Auditors
Public
Public
Public
Public
Chief
Chief
Chief
Chief

accountants
accountants
accountants
accountants

accountants
accountants
accountants
accountants

Attorneys
Attorneys
Attorneys
Attorneys
Attorneys
Attorneys
Attorneys

1 ........................................................
II .......................................................
III ......................................................
I V ......................................................
V .......................................................
V I ......................................................
Buyers

Buyers
Buyers
Buyers
Buyers

1 .............................................................
I I ............................................................
I I I ...........................................................
IV ..........................................................

Programmers and systems analysts
Computer
Computer
Computer
Computer
Computer
Systems
Systems
Systems
Systems
Systems
Systems

programmers
programmers
programmers
programmers
programmers

analysts
analysts
analysts
analysts
analysts
analysts

1 For the scope of the survey, see table A-1 in appendix A.
* Occupational definitions appear in appendix C.
3 Occupational employment estimates relate to the total in all establish­
ments within the scope of the survey and not to the number actually sur­
veyed. For further explanation, see appendix A.
4 Salaries reported are standard salaries paid for standard work sched­
ules; i.e., the straight-time salary corresponding to the employee's normal
work schedule excluding overtime hours. Nonproduction bonuses are ex­

cluded, but cost-of-living payments and incentive earnings are included.
5
The mean is computed for each job by totaling the earnings of all
workers and dividing by the number of workers. The median designates
position; one-half of the workers receive the same as or more and onehalf receive the same as or less than the rate shown. The middle range is
defined by two rates of pay; one-fourth of the workers earn the same as
or less than the lower of these rates and one-fourth earn earn the same
as or more than the higher rate.

21

Chapter 3. Average Hourly
and Weekly Earnings—
Establishment Data

Average hourly and weekly earnings statistics are
developed from a monthly survey of employment,
hours, and earnings in nonagricultural establishments
conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in coopera­
tion with State employment security agencies.
This survey, the Current Employment Statistics ( c e s )
survey, collects data each month from a nationwide
sample of over 200,000 nonagricultural establishments
to provide detailed industry data for the Nation as a
whole, individual States, and most major labor areas.
Coverage of the earnings data includes production and
related workers in manufacturing and mining, construc­
tion workers in contract construction, and nonsupervisory workers in the other nonmanufacturing com­
ponents of the private nonfarm sector. Gross average
hourly earnings are derived by dividing the total produc­
tion or nonsupervisory payroll in reporting
establishments by total production or nonsupervisory
worker hours. Average weekly earnings are derived by
multiplying the average hourly earnings by average
weekly hours. These data are available in substantial in­
dustry detail over a long time period.

Hoover to appoint an Advisory Committee on Employ­
ment Statistics to study the need for additional data in
this field. The Committee made its report in the spring
of 1931 with a number of recommendations for exten­
sion of the Bureau’s program. The most important of
these called for the development of series on average
weekly hours and earnings. Congress granted the
Bureau a substantial increase in the appropriation for
the program for 1932, and in January 1933, average
hourly earnings and average weekly hours were publish­
ed for the first time for manufacturing as a whole, for
90 manufacturing industries, and for 14 nonmanufac­
turing industries.
Over the years, the feeling grew that the proper place
to estimate State and area employment was in the State
agencies rather than in Washington. By 1949, all States
had joined the system, and since that year the industry
employment statistics program has been a fully in­
tegrated Federal-State project which provides employ­
ment, hours, and earnings information on a national,
State, and area basis in considerable industrial detail.
This cooperative program has as its formal base of
authority a congressional act of July 7, 1930 (ch. #873,
46 Stat. 1019; 29 U.S.C. 2). In 1985, cooperative ar­
rangements were in effect with the State employment
security agencies in the 50 States, the District of Colum­
bia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Background

The first monthly studies of employment and payrolls
by b l s began in October 1915 and covered four
manufacturing industries. By November 1916, the BLS
program had been expanded to cover 13 manufacturing
industries; this number remained unchanged until 1922.
These early series consisted merely of data on over-themonth changes in employment and payrolls; index series
using a January 1915 reference date were developed in
1918.
The depression of 1921 directed attention to the im­
portance of current employment statistics, and in 1922
Congress granted additional funds to provide for pro­
gram expansion. By June 1923, the number of manufac­
turing industries covered by the monthly employment
and payroll survey had increased to 52. In 1928, concern
over increasing unemployment induced Congress to
provide additional appropriations for the program.
During the next 4 years, 53 industries were added—38
manufacturing industries and 15 nonmanufacturing in­
dustries.
In 1930, the deepening economic crisis led President

Survey concepts and outputs

Average earnings data are derived from reports of
payrolls and hours for production and related workers
in manufacturing and mining, construction workers in
construction, and nonsupervisory employees in private
service-producing industries. The survey concepts are
designed to simplify and speed recording and to mirror
predominant employer payroll practices. Definitions of
the data requested in the survey are as follows:
Production and related workers in mining and
manufacturing include working supervisors and all
nonsupervisory workers (including group leaders and
trainees) engaged in fabricating, processing, assembl­
ing, inspection, receiving, storage handling, packing,
warehousing, shipping, maintenance, repair,
janitorial and guard services, product development,
22

Establishments are classified into industries accor­
ding to the 1972 Standard Industrial Classification
Manual on the basis of their major activity during
the previous year.

auxiliary production for a plant’s own use (e.g.,
power plant), and recordkeeping and other services
closely associated with production operations.
Construction workers include the following
employees in the contract construction division:
Working supervisors, qualified craft workers,
mechanics’ apprentices, laborers, etc., whether
working at the site of construction or in shops or
yards, at jobs (such as precutting and preassembling)
ordinarily performed by members of the construction
trades.

Based on this calculation of payroll and hours data,
five statistical series are produced, as follows:
Gross average hourly earnings are computed by
dividing the reported payroll by the reported hours
for establishments in a given estimating cell—usually
an industry or subgroup (geographic region and/or
size-of-establishment group within an industry).
Changes in gross average hourly earnings reflect not
only changes in basic hourly and incentive wage rates
but also such variable factors as premium pay for
overtime and late-shift work and changes in output
of workers paid on an incentive plan. Shifts in the
volume of employment between relatively high-paid
and low-paid work, as well as changes in workers’
earnings in individual establishments, also affect the
general earnings averages. Averages for groups and
divisions further reflect changes in average hourly
earnings for individual industries.

Nonsupervisory employees include employees (not
above the working supervisory level) such as office
and clerical workers, repairers, salespersons,
operators, drivers, physicians, lawyers, accountants,
nurses, social workers, research aids, teachers,
drafters, photographers, beauticians, musicians,
restaurant workers, custodial workers, attendants,
line installers and other employees whose services are
closely associated with those of the employees listed.
Payroll covers the payroll for full- and part-time pro­
duction, construction, or nonsupervisory workers
who received pay for any part of the pay period
which includes the 12th of the month. The payroll is
reported before deductions of any kind, e.g., for oldage and unemployment insurance, group insurance,
withholding tax, bonds, or union dues; also included
is pay for overtime, holidays, vacations, and sick
leave paid directly by the firm. Bonuses (unless earn­
ed and paid regularly each pay period), other pay not
earned in the pay period reported (e.g., retroactive
pay), tips, and the value of free rent, fuel, meals, or
other payment in kind are excluded. Benefits, such as
health and other types of insurance, contributions to
retirement, etc., paid by the employer are also ex­
cluded.

Straight-time average hourly earnings excluding
overtime premium pay are computed for the
manufacturing sector by dividing the total produc­
tion worker payroll for the industry group by the sum
of total production worker hours and one-half of
total overtime hours. This method eliminates earn­
ings due to overtime paid for at 1Vi times straighttime rates. No adjustment is made for other premium
payment provisions, such as holiday work, late-shift
work, and overtime rates other than time and onehalf.
Gross average weekly earnings are derived by
m ultiplying average w eekly hours by average hourly

earnings. Therefore, weekly earnings are affected not
only by changes in gross average hourly earnings but
also by changes in the length of the workweek. Mon­
thly variations in factors such as the proportion of
part-time workers, work stoppages, labor turnover,
and absences for which employees are not paid may
cause the average workweek to fluctuate.
Long-term trends of gross average weekly earnings
can be affected by structural changes in the makeup
of the work force. For example, the long-term in­
crease in the proportion of part-time workers in retail
trade and many of the service industries has reduced
the average workweek in these industries and has af­
fected the average weekly earnings series.

Hours cover hours paid for, during the pay period
which includes the 12th of the month, for produc­
tion, construction, or nonsupervisory workers. The
hours include hours paid for holidays and vacations,
and for sick leave when pay is received directly from
the firm.
Overtime hours cover hours worked by production
and related workers for which overtime premiums
were paid because the hours were in excess of the
number of hours of either the straight-time workday
or the workweek during the pay period which in­
cludes the 12th of the month. Weekend and holiday
hours are included only if overtime premiums were
paid. Hours for which only shift-differential, hazard,
incentive, or similar types of premiums were paid are
excluded.

Average hourly and weekly earnings in constant
dollars are derived by dividing the earnings averages
by the Consumer Price Index. This eliminates the ef­
23

pressed as relative errors of the estimates. (A relative er­
ror is a standard error expressed as a percent of the
estimate.) Relative errors for industry divisions and for
individual industries are published in Employment and
Earnings. The chances are about 2 out of 3 that the ear­
nings estimates from the sample would differ from the
averages that would have been obtained from a com­
plete census by a smaller percentage than the relative error.
Nonsampling errors are errors in the reported data
due to respondents’ failure or inability to follow the in­
structions on the reporting forms, errors of transposi­
tion at the establishment or the collection agency site,
errors in the industrial classification of reports, etc.
Response analysis surveys conducted from time to time
by the Bureau have shown that these types of errors tend
to be offsetting. No persistent pattern of errors has been
identified and most of the errors detected have not
significantly affected the aggregate earnings estimate.
For the two most recent months, estimates of earn­
ings are preliminary, based on less than the total sam­
ple. These estimates are revised when all the reports in
the sample have been received. This source of error is
relatively small—revisions of preliminary earnings
estimates are normally not greater than 1 cent for hourly
earnings.
Annually, employment estimates are benchmarked to
reflect complete employment counts (derived from the
State unemployment insurance tax reporting system; see
chapter 5). Earnings estimates are not directly subject to
benchmark revisions, but averages across industry
groupings may be affected slightly by changes in
employment weights.

fects of changes in purchasing power. The deflator
used in adjusting all of the hourly and weekly earn­
ings averages is the Consumer Price Index for Urban
Wage Earners and Clerical Workers ( c p i - w ).
Seasonally adjusted series are developed to observe
the cyclical and other nonseasonal movements in the
series. Seasonal factors are computed and then ap­
plied to gross average hourly earnings to eliminate
purely seasonal fluctuations. This adjustment is ap­
plied to major industries.
A seasonally adjusted average weekly earnings
series is derived by multiplying seasonally adjusted
average weekly hours by seasonally adjusted average
hourly earnings.
Survey methods

Collection methods. State employment security agencies
collect survey data under contract with b l s . These agen­
cies mail schedules to a sample of establishments in the
States each month. A “ shuttle” schedule is used; that is,
one which is submitted each month in the calendar year
by the respondent, edited by the State agency, and
returned to the respondent for use again the following
month. The State agency uses the information provided
on the forms to develop State and area estimates of
employment, hours, and earnings, and then forwards
the data in machine-readable form to b l s Washington
where they are used to prepare estimates at the national
level.
Sample design. The sampling plan used in the survey is
known as “ sampling proportionate to average size of
establishment.” This design provides an optimum
allocation among the estimating cells since the sampling
variance is proportional to the average size of
establishments. Large establishments fall into the sam­
ple with certainty, while the size of the sample for
smaller establishments in the various industries is deter­
mined empirically on the basis of experience and cost
considerations. For example, in a manufacturing in­
dustry in which a large proportion of total employment
is concentrated in relatively few establishments, the
sample design provides for a complete census of the
large establishments, while only a few are chosen from
among the smaller establishments. On the other hand,
in an industry in which a large proportion of total
employment is in small establishments, the sample
design calls for inclusion of all large establishments and
also for a substantial number of the small ones. Many
industries in the trade and services divisions fall into this
category.

Presentation of the data

The earnings series appear in several b l s publications.
The preliminary national data on gross average hourly
and weekly earnings for industry divisions and major
manufacturing groups appear in the monthly news
release, The Employment Situation, usually issued 3
weeks after the week of reference for the data. These
data also appear in the same detail in the Monthly
Labor Review approximately 1Vi months later (figures
3-1 and 3-2). Average hourly and weekly earnings in
constant dollars are published in the news release, Real
Earnings, issued during the third week of each month,
at the time of release of the Consumer Price Index. The
release contains the most up-to-date constant-dollar
average weekly and hourly earnings statistics for in­
dustry divisions (figure 3-3).
Current earnings statistics are published with industry
detail in the monthly publication, Employment and Ear­
nings (figure 3-4). This periodical is published approxi­
mately 2 weeks after The Employment Situation is
issued. In total, 451 gross average hourly and weekly
earnings series are published, as well as 23 straight-time
average hourly earnings series. Complete national

Reliability. The earnings estimates are subject to sampl­
ing and nonsampling errors. Sampling errors may be ex­
24

the same data when making long-term purchasing com­
mitments.

historical data can be found in the latest edition of
Employment, Hours, and Earnings, United States
(Bulletin Series 1312); annual supplements of the
periodical Employment and Earnings contain monthly
data for the past 3 to 5 years.
Current gross average hourly and weekly earnings
data for States and metropolitan areas are also publish­
ed in Employment and Earnings', however, these data
are limited to the manufacturing sector. (See figure 3-5.)
Historical statistics (annual averages) are presented for
the full range of major industrial categories in the latest
edition of Employment, Hours, and Earnings, States
and Areas (Bulletin Series 1370). In addition, detailed
industry rates are available monthly in releases publish­
ed by the cooperating State agencies.
The data also are disseminated through the publica­
tions of many other Federal agencies; e.g., the Depart­
ment of Commerce, the Board of Governors of the
Federal Reserve System, and the Council of Economic
Advisers. They are also regularly republished in sum­
mary form or for specific industries in many trade
association journals, the labor press, and in general
reference works, b l s major data series for the Nation as
well as for States and areas are also available for a fee
on magnetic tape from the Office of Employment and
Unemployment Statistics, Division of Data Develop­
ment and Users’ Services, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Washington, D.C. 20212. b l s also makes available
some unpublished earnings series on request, subject to
the Bureau’s confidentiality restrictions.

Limitations. Because of the many years of historical
continuity, extensive industry detail, and the availability
of current, monthly estimates, the earnings series pro­
duced from the CES survey are used widely as an in­
dicator of current trends in total labor costs. In the
short run, this use has generally been acceptable. Over
the long run, however, use of the earnings series to
measure change in labor costs has been questioned.
Changes in the mix of occupations w ithin
establishments; an ever-increasing proportion of parttime workers in many industries; and the growing im­
portance of benefits, which are not covered by the earn­
ings series, have all affected the series so that they
underrepresent long-term total compensation trends.
Therefore, users of these data must judge whether—for
their purposes—the value of industry-specific measures
available on a current basis overrides such measurement
shortcomings.
Recently, the value of the CES earnings data for
estimating even short-run changes in labor costs has
been challenged, c e s payroll data collected from
employers are limited to “ regular” payroll. By defini­
tion, irregular payments to employees have been exclud­
ed so as to maintain continuity of the earnings series.
New compensation practices—such as paying lump-sum
amounts rather than increasing basic wage rates—plus
growing reliance on irregular payments such as bonuses,
perfect attendance awards, cash profit sharing, etc., to
reward employees are, therefore, not reflected in the
CES series. To the extent that such practices replace the
more traditional adjustments in wage rates, the CES earn­
ings series become increasingly inappropriate for
measuring labor cost trends in the short run. Users of
the earnings data from the c e s survey should be aware
that the data reflect only the regular payrolls for the pay
period being surveyed each month.

Uses and limitations

Uses. The earnings data for broad industry divisions are
used by business, labor, government, and research
organizations in monitoring the economic well-being of
the millions of Americans who depend on salaries and
wages. Since they are the most current and comprehen­
sive data available each month, these series are used as
inputs in many other economic time series as well as in
economic models for analyzing and projecting trends in
the economy.
A common use of data on the hourly earnings
estimates by detailed industry is for the escalation of the
purchase price of comodities by parties to contracts in­
volving items to be delivered several years in the future.
These contract “ escalation clauses’’ permit a revision of
the settlement price depending on the movement of
average hourly earnings at a detailed industry level. The
earnings series are also widely used by both labor and
management in contract negotiations. The time series
not only furnish consistent current and historical infor­
mation on a given industry but provide comparative
data on related industries. The employment, earnings,
and hours data are further used for guidance in plant
location, sales, and purchase decisions by business firms
and trade associations; many government agencies use

The gross average hourly earnings series reflect actual
earnings of workers, including premium pay. They dif­
fer from wage rates, which are the amounts stipulated
for a given unit of work or time. Earnings for those
employees not covered under the production worker
and nonsupervisory employee categories are, of course,
not reflected in the estimates. The hourly earnings series
do not exclude the effects of interindustry employment
shifts, such as the shift of workers between high-wage
and low-wage industries. Gross average hourly earnings
do not represent total compensation costs per hour for
the employer, because they exclude retroactive
payments and irregular bonuses, various welfare
benefits, and the employer’s share of payroll taxes. (The
Hourly Earnings Index discussed in the appendix to this
chapter, eliminates the effects of interindustry employ­
ment shifts.)
25

To approximate straight-time average hourly earn­
ings, gross average hourly earnings are adjusted by
assuming that premium pay for overtime is paid at the
rate of time and one-half. Thus, no adjustment is made
for other premium payment provisions such as holiday
work, late-shift work, and premium overtime rates
other than at time and one-half.
The workweek information relates to average hours
paid for, which differ from scheduled hours or hours
worked. Average weekly hours reflect the effects of
such factors as absenteeism, labor turnover, part-time
work, and strikes.

“ Real” earnings data (expressed in 1977 dollars)
result from the adjustment of gross earnings to reflect
changes in the Consumer Price Index. They indicate
changes in the purchasing power of money earnings as a
result of changes in prices for consumer goods and ser­
vices. They do not, however, measure changes in living
standards as a whole, which are also affected by a variety
of other factors.

Alterman, Jack. “ Compensation per Man-Hour and Take-Home
Pay,” Monthly Labor Review, June 1971, pp.25-34.

U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics. BLS Hand­
book o f Methods, Bulletin 2134-1, 1984, chapter 2.

Farrell, John B. “ BLS Establishment Estimates Revised to March
1984 Benchmark Levels,” Employment and Earnings, June 1985,
pp. 6-23.

U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics. “ Explanatory
Notes—Establishment Data,” Employment and Earnings, monthly.

Carol M. Utter
Office of Employment and
Unemployment Statistics

U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics, Southeastern
Regional Office. BLS Series fo r Use in Escalation Clauses (Regional
Report Number 9), February 1975 (rev.).

Sheifer, Victor J. “ The Relationship between Changes in Wage Rates
and in Hourly Earnings,” Monthly Labor Review, August 1970,
pp .10-17.

26

Figure 3.1
14.

A v e ra g e h o u rly e a rn in g a , b y In d u s try

[Production or nonsupervisory workers on private nonagricultural payrolls]
1984

A nnual ave rage

19S5

Industry
1983

P R IV A T E S E C T O R

Seasonally adjusted..........................

1984

M ay

June

July

A ug.

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

Jan.

Feb.

M a r.

A p r.?

M ay*

$8 02

$8 33

<1)

<1>

$8 28
8.29

$8 30
8.32

$8.32
8.35

$8.30
8.35

$8.43
8.40

$8 40
8.38

$8.43
8.42

$8.46
8.47

$8 50
8 44

$8 52
8.49

$8.52
8.53

$8.53
8.54

$8.54
8.55

M IN IN G

11.28

11 63

11.61

11.62

11 63

11.62

11.72

11.58

11.63

11.70

11.86

11.90

11.91

11.90

11.82

C O N S T R U C T IO N

11.94

12.12

12.08

12.03

12.06

12.10

12.24

12.23

12.10

12.26

12 30

12.33

12.22

12.20

12.25

8 83

9.18

9.12

9.15

9.19

9.15

9.24

9.24

9.31

9.40

9.43

9.43

9.45

9.48

9.48

Lumber and wood p ro d u cts...............
Furniture and fixtures........................
Stone, clay, and glass products...........
Primary metal industries....................
Blast furnaces and basic steel products
Fabricated metal p ro d u c ts..................

9 39
7.80
6.62
9.28
11.35
12.89
9.12

9 74
8.03
6.85
9.57
11.47
12.99
9.38

9.68
7.95
6.78
9.54
11.53
13.09
9.35

9.72
8 08
6.82
9.58
11.50
13.02
9.35

9.73
8.07
6.87
9 64
11 49
13.03
9 35

9.70
8 10
6.88
9 63
11 38
12.90
9.33

9.79
8.20
6.94
9.65
11.43
13.01
9.43

9.78
8.11
6.93
9.64
11.36
12.86
9.40

9.85
8.06
6.95
9.67
11.49
12.99
9.44

9.96
8.09
6.99
9.68
11.49
12.95
9.58

9 99
8.10
7.01
9.70
11.55
13.07
9.59

9.99
8.09
7.01
9.73
11.69
13.42
9.59

10.01
8.06
7.07
9.71
11.66
13.27
9.62

10.03
8.05
7.08
9.79
11.66
13.34
9.65

10.05
8.14
7.10
9.80
11.67
13.34
9.64

Machinery, except electrical...............
Electrical and electronic equipment
. .
Transportation equipment ..................
Motor vehicles and equipm ent...........
Instruments and related p ro d u cts.........
Miscellaneous manufacturing .............

9.55
8.67
11.67
12.14
8.48
6.81

9 96
9.04
12.22
12.74
8 85
7.04

9.90
8.94
12 06
12.56
8.75
7.04

9.93
8.97
12.17
12.72
8.82
7.03

9.96
9.00
12.16
12 66
8 88
7.07

9.93
9.05
12.16
12.64
8 89
7.01

10.02
9.13
12.26
12.74
8 96
7.05

10.02
9.15
12.32
12.86
8.93
7.05

10.07
9.20
12.45
13.02
8.95
7.06

10.16
9.32
12.62
13.27
9.03
7.16

10.13
9.33
12.67
13.41
9.00
7.23

10.14
9.33
12.63
13.35
9.11
7.19

10.15
9 39
12.59
13.29
9.10
7.20

10.19
9.39
12.62
13.37
9.11
7.22

10.22
9 42
12.59
13.29
9.14
7.30

8.08
8.19
10.38
6.18
5.38
9.93

8.37
8.38
11.27
6.46
5.55
10.41

8.30
8.41
11.65
6.43
5.50
10.30

8.33
8.42
12.00
6.44
5.53
10.38

8.41
8.39
11.77
644
5.53
10.52

8.37
8.33
10.92
6.47
5.55
10.47

8.44
8.35
10.52
6.50
5.63
10.51

8.44
8.31
10.60
6.49
5.61
10.52

8.52
8.43
11.93
6.55
5.61
10.64

8.55
8.45
11.17
6.57
5.68
10.66

8.59
8 48
11.39
6.59
5.73
10.63

8.60
8.51
11.80
6.60
5.70
10.64

8.61
8.53
12.00
6.64
5.73
10.64

8.67
8.58
12.02
6.72
5.75
10.72

8 64
8.59
12.48
6.67
5.70
10.72

9.11
10.58
13.28

940
11.08
13 43

9.33
10.99
13.31

9.31
11 00
13.32

9.38
11.09
13.25

9.44
11 09
13.30

9.53
11.20
13.52

9.50
11.29
13.51

9.56
11.31
13.66

9.57
11.34
13.62

9.58
11.39
13.96

9.60
11.39
13.99

9.61
11.37
14.06

9.59
11.47
14.13

9.60
11.45
13.97

8.00
5.54

8.29
5.70

8.22
5.68

8.24
5.67

8.31
571

8.29
5.68

8.32
5.73

8.32
5.72

8.40
5.76

8.44
5.80

8 49
5.72

8.48
5.79

8 46
5.82

8.48
5.83

8.43
5.84

10.79

11.11

10.99

11.03

11.14

11.13

11.22

11.18

11.25

11.28

11.23

11.27

11.27

11.28

11.24

M A N U F A C T U R IN G

D u ra b le go o d s

N o n d u rab le g o o d s

Food and kindred products ...............
Tobacco manufactures......................
Textile mill products ........................
Apparel and other textile products.........
Paper and allied products ..................
Printing and publishing......................
Chemicals and allied products.............
Petroleum and coal products .............
Rubber and miscellaneous
plastics products..........................
Leather and leather products .............
T R A N S P O R T A T IO N A N D P U B L IC U T IL IT IE S

W H O LESA LE TRADE

8.55

8.96

8 88

8.91

8.98

8.96

9.06

9.00

9.08

9.19

9 16

9.22

9.19

9.23

9.26

R E T A IL T R A D E

5.74

5.88

5.87

5 87

5.86

5.82

5.88

5.88

5.93

5.89

5.97

5.99

5.97

5.95

596

F IN A N C E , IN S U R A N C E , A N D R E A L E S T A T E

7 29

7.62

7.55

7.58

7.60

7.57

7.76

7.67

7.71

7.78

7.77

7.87

7.87

7.88

790

S E R V IC E S

7.31

7.64

7.58

7.56

7.59

7.56

7.72

7.71

7.77

7.84

7.84

7.87

7.87

7.88

7.88

1 Not available,

NOTE: Data have been revised to reflect March 1984 benchmarks and updated seasonal adjustment
factors. Because of these revisions, data in this table may differ from data published previously.

p = preliminary.

SOURCE: M o n th ly L ab or Review, July 1985.

27

Figure 3.2
16.

A v e ra g e w e e k ly e a rn in g s , b y in d u s try

[Production or nonsupervisory workers on private nonagricultural payrolls]
A n n u al ave rage

1984

19SS

Industry
1983

1914

M ay

June

July

A ug.

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

J in .

Feb.

M ar.

Apr.»

M ay*

$280.70

$294.05

(1)
171.37

$291.46
292.64
173.18

$294.65
293.70
174.66

$296.19
294.76
174.85

$294.65
293.92
172.31

$298 42
296.52
173.50

$294.84
294.98
171.42

$295.89
296.38
172.23

$300.33
298.14
174.61

$294.95
296.24
171.28

$294.79
298.00
170.50

$298.20
300.26
171.68

$297.70
299.75
170.60

$298.90
299.25

173.48

P R IV A T E S E C T O R

Current d o lla rs......................................
Seasonally adjusted.............................
Constant (1977) d o lla r s ..........................

I1)

(1)

M IN IN G

479.40

503.58

501.55

507.79

500.09

505.47

515.68

500.26

505.91

515.97

508.79

514.08

519.28

517.65

515.35

C O N S T R U C T IO N

442.97

456.92

460.25

464 36

464.31

464.64

471.24

464.74

451.33

460.98

447.72

451.28

460.69

461.16

464.28

354.08
216.17

373.63
220.43

371.18
220.55

373.32
221.29

370.36
218.63

369.66
216.18

376.07
218.65

374.22
217.57

378.92
220.56

387.28
225.16

380.03
220.69

374.37
216.52

381.78
219.79

380.15
217.85

381.10

Lumber and wood products ......................
Furniture and fix tu res...............................
Stone, clay, and glass products ..................
Primary metal industries ..........................
Blast furnaces and basic steel products.........
Fabricated metal products..........................

382.17
312.78
260.83
385.12
459.68
509.16
370.27

403.24
320.40
271.95
401.94
478.30
527.39
388.33

400.75
318.80
267.81
404.50
483.11
540.62
388.03

403.38
325.62
270.07
407.15
481.85
536.42
388.96

397.96
318.77
269.30
406.81
474.54
525.11
381.48

397.70
324.00
272.45
406.39
464.30
506.97
382.53

406.29
332.10
278.29
409.16
474.35
524.30
390.40

403.91
322.78
278.59
406.81
464 62
506.68
388 22

407.79
315.95
278.70
406.14
475.69
524.80
389.87

419.32
321.98
283.79
404.62
477.98
516.71
405.23

410.59
315.90
276.19
392.85
473.55
517.57
395.11

403.60
309.85
270.59
393.09
478.12
544.85
387.44

412.41
317.56
277.85
404.91
481.56
540.09
396.34

409.22
317.98
276.12
411.18
482.72
553.61
394.69

411.05
324.79
273.35
414.54
485.47
554.94
394.28

Machinery except electrical........................
Electrical and electronic equipment...............
Transportation equipment..........................
Motor vehicles and equipment..................
Instruments and related products ...............
Miscellaneous manufacturing......................

386.78
351.14
491.31
525.66
342.59
266.27

417.32
370.64
521.79
558.01
365.51
277.38

413.82
365.65
514.96
550.13
357.00
276.67

417.06
367.77
520.88
559.68
364.27
275.58

412.34
363.60
509.50
539.32
363.19
275.02

412.10
368.34
507.07
534.67
364.49
274.09

420.84
376.16
519.82
550.37
373.63
279.18

417.83
374.24
523.60
556 84
367.92
279.89

422.94
379.04
531.62
565.07
373.22
280.99

434.85
389.58
554.02
597.15
382.87
285.68

422.42
379.73
546.08
594.06
369.90
279.08

415.74
373.20
524.15
559.37
369.87
276.82

424.27
383.11
537.59
576.79
374.01
282.24

417.79
375.60
536.35
581.60
368.96
280.86

420.04
376.80
535.08
575.46
372.00
283.24

318.35
323.51
388.21
249.67
194.76
423.02

331.45
333.52
438.40
257.75
202.02
448.67

328.68
333.04
461.34
257.84
200.75
441.87

331.53
336.80
487.20
260.18
203 50
447.38

331.35
333.08
441.38
253.09
199.08
453.41

331.45
334.03
428.06
256.86
201.47
449.16

335.07
336.51
416.59
256.10
203.24
456.13

332.54
330.74
420.82
253.11
203.08
453.41

337.39
337.20
480.78
257.42
203.08
460.71

342.00
342 23
433.40
258.86
206.75
466.91

336.73
334.96
424.85
257.01
205.13
456.03

333.68
331.89
442.50
254.10
202.35
451.14

338.37
335.23
452.40
258.96
206.85
454.33

338.13
335.48
411.08
258.72
203.55
457.74

339.55
342.74
459.26
262.13
205.77
456.67

342.54
440.13
582.99

356.26
464.25
586.89

352.67
459.38
580.32

350.06
462.00
580.75

352.69
462.45
580.35

357.78
462.45
583.87

363.09
470.40
597.58

359.10
469.66
590.39

364.24
473.89
596.94

366.53
480.82
584.30

359.25
477.24
597.49

358.08
476.10
594.58

362.30
478.68
601.77

359.63
480.59
611.83

357.12
479.76
596.52

329.60
203.87

345.69
209.76

342.77
209.59

345.26
213.76

342.37
212.98

343.21
206.75

345.28
208.57

345.28
207.64

349.44
210.82

355.32
215.18

352.34
207.64

343.44
207.28

347.71
212.43

346.83
214.54

342.26
217.25

T R A N S P O R T A T IO N A N D P U B L IC U T IL IT IE S

420.81

437.73

430.81

438.99

445.60

441.86

447.68

438.26

444.38

445.56

440.22

440.66

442.91

443.30

441.73

W HO LESALE TRADE

329.18

345.86

342 77

344.82

348.42

347.65

351.53

348.30

351.40

357.49

351.74

352,20

353.82

354.43

357.44

M A N U F A C T U R IN G

Current d o lla rs......................................
Constant (1977) d o lla r s ..........................
D u ra b le go o d s

N on d u rab le g o o d s

Food and kindred p rod u cts........................
Tobacco manufactures .............................
Textile mill products.................................
Apparel and other textile p ro d u cts................
Paper and allied products..........................
Printing and p ub lishing.............................
Chemicals and allied products ....................
Petroleum and coat p roducts......................
Rubber and miscellaneous
plastics p ro d u cts.................................
Leather and leather p rod u cts......................

(1)

R E T A IL T R A D E

171.05

176.40

176.10

178.45

179.90

178.09

176.40

174.64

176.12

179.65

173.73

174.31

175.52

174.93

177.01

F IN A N C E . IN S U R A N C E . A N D R E A L EST A T E

263.90

278.13

274.07

275.15

278.92

275.55

284.02

279.96

280.64

285.53

282 83

286.47

286.47

286.83

286.77

S E R V IC E S

239.04

250.59

247 87

248 72

251.99

249.48

253.22

252.12

254.08

257.94

254.80

256.56

256.56

257.68

256.89

1 Not available,
NOTE: Data have been revised to reflect March 1984 benchmarks and updated seasonal adjustment
factors. Because of these revisions, data in this table may differ from data published previously.

p = preliminary.

SO U RCE:

28

Monthly Labor Review, July 1985.

Figure 3.3
C-4. A verag e hourly and w ee kly earnings o f prod uction or nonsupervisory w o rke rs 'o n private
nonagricultural payrolls by m ajor industry, in cu rren t and co nstant (1977) dollars.
Average weekly earnings

Average hourly earnings
Industry

Apr.
1984

May
1984

Mar.
1985

Total private:
Current dollars ......................................................
Constant (1977) dollars........................................

$8.29
4.95

$8.28
4.92

Mining:
Current dollars ......................................................
Constant (1977) dollars........................................

11.66
6.96

Construction:
Current dollars ......................................................
Constant (1977) dollars........................................

Apr.
1985p

May
1985p

$8.52
4.90

$8.53
4.89

$8.54

11.61
6.90

11.91
6.85

11.90
6.82

$11.82

12.05
7.19

12.08
7.18

12.22
7.03

12.20
6.99

$12.25

Manufacturing:
Current dollars ......................................................
Constant (1977) dollars........................................

9.12
5.45

9.12
5.42

9.45
5.44

9.48
5.43

$9.48

Transportation and public utilities:
Current dollars ......................................................
Constant (1977) dollars........................................

11.04
6.59

10.99
6.53

11.27
6.49

11.28
6.47

$11.24

Wholesale trade:
Current dollars ......................................................
Constant (1977) dollars........................................

8.91
5.32

8.88
5.27

9.19
5.29

9.23
5.29

$9.26

Retail trade:
Current dollars ......................................................
Constant (1977) dollars........................................

5.88
3.51

5.87
3.49

5.97
3.44

5.95
3.41

Finance, insurance, and real estate:
Current dollars ......................................................
Constant (1977) dollars........................................

7.62
4.55

7.55
4.48

7.87
4.53

Services:
Current dollars ......................................................
Constant (1977) dollars ........................................

7.62
4.55

7.58
4.50

7.87
4.53

' Data relate to production workers in mining and manufacturing;
construction workers in construction; and nonsupervisory workers in
transportation and public utilities; wholesale and retail trade; finance,
insurance, and real estate; and services.
2 Not available.
p = preliminary.

ft

Apr.
1984

May
1984

Mar.
1985

Apr.
1985p

May
1985”

$291.81 $291.46 $298.20 $297.70 $298.90
174.21
173.18 171.68 170.60
ft
501.38
299.33

501.55
298.01

519.28
298.95

517.65
296.65

$515.35

451.88
269.78

4£0.25
273.47

460.69
265.22

461.16
264.28

$464.28

373.01
222.69

371.18
220.55

381.78
219.79

380.15
217.85

$381.10
ft

433.87
259.03

430.81
255.98

442.91
254.99

443.30
254.04

$441.73

343.04
204.80

342.77
203.67

353.82
203.70

354.43
203.11

$357.44
ft

$5.96
ft

175.22
104.61

176.10
104.63

175.52
101.05

174.93
100.25

$177.01

7.88
4.52

$7.90

278.13
166.05

274.07
162.85

286.47
164.92

286.83
164.37

$286.77

7.88
4.51

$7.88

249.94
149.22

247.87
147.28

256.56
147.70

257.68
147.67

$256.89

ft
I1
)

ft
ft
ft

ft
ft

ft
ft

ft

ft
ft
ft

NOTE: The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and
Clerical Workers (CPI-W) is used to deflate the earnings series. Data
in this table have been revised to reflect March 1984 benchmarks
and may differ slightly from data previously published. See the article
in this issue for additional information.
SOURCE: News release, "Real Earnings in May 1985,” Bureau
of Labor Statistics. (Subsequently published as table C-4 in Employ­
ment and Earnings, May 1985, Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

29

Figure 3.4
ESTABLISHMENT DATA
HOURS AND EARNINGS
NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
C-2. Average hours and earnings o f production or nonsupervisory w o rkers1 on private nonagricultural payrolls by detailed
industry— Continued

Industry

1972
SIC
Code

Average weekly earnings

Average hourly earnings
Apr.
1984

May
1984

Mar.
1985

Apr.
1985p

May
1985p

Apr.
1984

May
1984

Mar.
1985

Apr.
1985p

May
1985p

Total p r iv a te .......................................................................

$8.29

$8.28

$8.52

$8.53

$8.54 $291.81 $291.46 $298.20 $297.70 $298.90

M ining.........................................................................................

11.82 501.38

501.55

519.28

517.65

515.35

522.78
491.18
559.42

531.22
504.32
574.94

542.23
516.40
577.86

553.62
531.73
600.50

_
-

598.37
600.41

601.29
604.82

638.70
642.75

627.82
630.27

_

484.85
560.10
453.45

485.05
555.59
454.55

_
-

434.93
420.44

441.88
424.55

448.90
433.83

_

460.25

460.69

461.16

464.28

400.31
366.18
356.69
437.25

403.59
373.43
353.70
439.17

416.64
395.53
360.60
441.05

419.25
399.16
368.14
442.13

_
-

477.71
424.35
500.62

489.70
453.23
509.23

490.69
417.11
520.83

485.75
443.46
505.53

_

466.65
470.35
408.45
547.99
443.45
400.33
370.51

476.32
485.14
414.12
558.35
448.66
409.83
391.37

470.49
494.76
414.47
550.44
455.60
407.73
364.93

472.69
492.16
413.28
548.84
462.80
422.19
379.24

_
-

9.48 373.01

371.18

381.78

380.15

381.10

10.05 404.07

400.75

412.41

409.22

411.05

318.79
401.83
345.26
367.28
232.00
315.06
318.37
286.64
255.78
399.10
220.22
267.84
273.67
276.62

318.80
412.11
342.72
364.56
231.42
311.48
314.42
285.31
252.05
389.78
218.88
274.83
279.41
277.85

317.56
399.09
339.73
360.05
244.01
315.61
316.22
281.58
266.42
405.25
222.72
272.60
274.02
281.80

317.98
406.95
336.07
355.92
240.37
319.60
327.92
285.19
264.66
397.31
221.54
270.75
272.54
278.78

324.79
-

7.10 266.63
243.59
225.94
260.65
253.94
256.82
301.59
298.40
326.30
291.69
“

267.81
242.74
225.76
254.10
254.92
259.78
304.63
300.45
332.86
293.85

277.85
252.33
233.43
271.99
263.86
271.93
321.20
303.56
336.48
306.40

276.12
250.51
233.61
267.78
261.30
267.34
314.82
303.24
337.26
303.11

273.35
-

11.66

11.61

11.91

11.90

Metal mining ........................................................................... 10
Iron o r e s ................................................................................ 101
Copper o r e s ......................................................................... 102

12.94
12.53
13.48

13.02
12.80
13.56

13.29
13.14
13.47

13.47
13.36
13.71

_
-

Coal mining............................................................................. 11,12
Bituminous coal and lignite mining..................................... 12

14.63
14.68

14.63
14.68

15.28
15.34

15.35
15.41

_

474.12
538.83
445.76

470.17
526.19
445.50

_

429.09
405.88

12.25 451.88

-

Nonmetallic minerals, except fu e ls..................................... 14
Crushed and broken stone ............................................... 142
C onstruction ............................................................................

10.80
12.86
9.95

10.71
12.71
9.90

10.92
13.21
10.01

10.90
13.26
9.99

_
-

9.73
9.08

9.73
9.18

10.02
9.29

10.02
9.37

-

12.05

Oil and gas extraction........................................................... 13
Crude petroleum, natural gas, and natural gas liquids . 131,2
Oil and gas field serv ices................................................... 138

General building contractors ...............................................
Residential building construction......................................
Operative builders...............................................................
Nonresidential building construction................................

-

12.08

12.22

12.20

15
152
153
154

10.79
10.06
9.03
11.66

10.82
10.12
9.00
11.68

11.14
10.69
9.27
11.73

11.18
10.73
9.32
11.79

Heavy construction c o n tra c to rs.......................................... 16
Highway and street construction...................................... 161
Heavy construction, except highw ay............................... 162

11.68
10.35
12.27

11.80
10.74
12.36

11.91
10.35
12.52

11.79
10.66
12.33

Special trade contractors......................................................
Plumbing, heating, and air conditioning ..........................
Painting, paper hanging, and decorating ........................
Electrical work .....................................................................
Masonry, stonework, and plastering................................
Carpentering and flooring .................................................
Roofing and sheet metal w o rk .........................................

12.75
12.61
11.67
14.16
12.67
11.74
11.16

12.77
12.70
11.60
14.28
12.71
11.61
11.15

12.82
13.02
11.91
14.26
12.87
11.75
11.16

12.81
13.02
11.91
14.33
13.00
11.96
11.22

9.12

9.12

9.45

9.48

17
171
172
173
174
175
176

M anufacturing..........................................................................
Durable g o o d s ......................................................................

9.69

9.68

10.01

10.03

Lumber and wood p roducts...............................................
Logging camps and logging co n tracto rs......................
Sawmills and planing m ills..............................................
Sawmills and planing mills, g e n e ra l...........................
Hardwood dimension and flooring..............................
Millwork, plywood, and structural m em b ers................
Millwork ...........................................................................
Wood kitchen cabinets ................................................
Hardwood veneer and plywood..................................
Softwood veneer and plyw ood...................................
Wood containers ..............................................................
Wood buildings and mobile h o m e s...............................
Mobile h o m e s.................................................................
Miscellaneous wood products .......................................

24
241
242
2421
2426
243
2431
2434
2435
2436
244
245
2451
249

7.93
10.41
8.38
8.85
5.80
7.76
7.90
7.06
6.30
9.64
5.72
7.03
7.09
6.78

7.95
10.54
8.40
8.87
5.80
7.71
7.90
7.01
6.27
’ 9.53
5.70
7.12
7.22
6.81

8.06
10.53
8.43
8.89
6.07
7.99
8.15
7.22
6.53
9.86
5.80
7.25
7.23
7.01

8.05
10.57
8.36
-8.81
6.07
8.01
8.26
7.22
6.60
9.81
5.83
7.22
7.21
7.04

Furniture and fixtures..........................................................
Household furniture..........................................................
Wood household furniture...........................................
Upholstered household furniture ................................
Metal household furniture............................................
M attresses and bedsp rin g s.........................................
Office furniture..................................................................
Public building and related furniture .............................
Partitions and fixtures ......................................................
Miscellaneous furniture and fixtures.............................

25
251
2511
2512
2514
2515
252
253
254
259

6.75
6.23
5.72
6.77
6.27
6.96
7.41
7.46
8.24
7.22

6.78
6.24
5.73
6.74
6.31
7.04
7.43
7.53
8.28
7.22

7.07
6.47
5.97
7.01
6.58
7.10
7.99
7.57
8.54
7.66

7.08
6.49
5.99
7.01
6.70
7.11
7.97
7.60
8.56
7.54

1 Data relate to production workers in mining and manufacturing;
construction workers in construction; and nonsupervisory workers in
transportation arid public utilities; wholesale and retail trade; finance,
insurance, and real estate; and services.

30

_
-

_
-

-

_
-

8.14
-

-

p = preliminary,
SOURCE: E m p lo y m e n t a n d E a rn in g s , June 1985.

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

“

Figure 3.5
E S T A B LIS H M E N T D A TA
S TA TE A N D A R EA H O U R S A N D E A R N IN G S
N O T S E A S O N A LLY A D JU S TE D
C -8. A verag e ho urs and earn ing s o f pro d u c tio n w o rk e rs on m anu facturing p a yrolls in S ta te s and s e lected
areas 1
Average weekly hours
State and area

Apr.
1984

Mar.
1985

Apr.
1985p

Average hourly earnings
Apr.
1984

Mar.
1985

Apr.
1985p

Average weekly earnings
Apr.
1984

Mar.
1985

Apr.
1985p

Alabama .....................................................................................
Birmingham ...............................................................................
M o bile.......................................................................................

41.1
41.5
41.1

40.3
39.8
41,9

40.9
40.9
43.2

$7.88
8.28
9.83

$8.45
8.64
9.83

$8.48
8.83
9.91

$323.87
343.62
404.01

$340.54
343.87
411.88

$346.83
361.15
428.11

A laska.........................................................................................

37.3

38.1

36.7

14.27

13.09

13.89

532.27

498.73

509.76

A rizona.......................................................................................
Phoenix.....................................................................................
Tucson ......................................................................................

40.9

40.3

40.3

9.13

9.41

9.50

373.42

379.22

382.85

(’)
<
’)

(’)
0

O
(’)

(’)
(’)

O
(’)

O
O

(’)
(’)

(’)
(’)

<
’)
(’)

Arkansas .....................................................................................
Fayetteville-Springdale............................................................
Fort Smith .................................................................................
Little Rock-North Little Rock .................................................
Pine B lu ff..................................................................................

40.5
41.0
40.1
40.4
41.0

39.8
39.1
39.7
39.6
41.5

39.7
40.0
38.9
40.1
42.3

7.28
6.28
7.67
7.85
9.16

7.50
6.51
7.81
8.30
9.09

7.45
6.54
7.75
8.35
9.14

294.84
257.48
307.57
317.14
375.56

298.50
254.54
310.06
328.68
377.24

295.77
261.60
301.48
334.84
386.62

California....................................................................................

40.6

40.4

39.8

9.69

10.02

10.05

393.41

404.81

399.99

Colorado ....................................................................................
Denver-Boulder........................................................................

40.8
40.8

41.3
41.6

41.0
41.3

9.16
9.54

9.40
9.79

9.47
9.88

373.73
389.23

388.22
407.26

388.27
408.04

Connecticut................................................................................
Bridgeport-Milford....................................................................
Hartford ....................................................................................
New Britain ...............................................................................
New Haven-Meriden ...............................................................
Stam ford...................................................................................
W aterbury..................................................................................

42.9
42.8
42.7
42.2
41.0
41.3
43.7

42.1
41.5
42.5
42.1
41.0
42.5
43.2

41.8
41.4
42.1
42.0
40.8
42.3
41.6

9.17
9.59
9.76
9.36
9.04
9.11
7.78

9.45
10.08
9.92
9.56
9.07
9.23
7.89

9.48
10.06
9.88
9.60
9.12
9.37
7.94

393.39
410.45
416.75
394.99
370.64
376.24
339.99

397.85
418.32
421.60
402.48
371.87
392.28
340.85

396.26
416.48
415.95
403.20
372.10
396.35
330.30

Delaware .....................................................................................
Wilmington ................................................................................

42.6
44.0

42.3
42.6

41.2
42.1

9.38
10.71

9.70
11.02

9.86
11.30

399.59
471.24

410.31
469.45

406.23
475.73

District of Columbia:
Washington MSA .....................................................................

37.7

38.7

38.1

10.14

10.42

10.68

382.28

403.25

406.91

Florida ........................................................................................
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywoodj-Pompano Beach ......................
Jacksonville...............................................................................
Lakeland-Winter Haven ..........................................................
Miami-Hialeah ..........................................................................
O rlando.....................................................................................
Pensacola..................................................................................
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater .........................................
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach .....................

41.0
41.0
41.0
40.5
39.3
42.5
42.6
42.2
40.7

40.8
42.0
41.1
40.3
39.6
42.3
42.3
41.3
41.5

40.9
40.5
41.4
40.0
40.0
42.4
40.7
41.4
41.6

7.54
7.11
8.16
7.52
6.35
7.93
8.97
7.48
7.67

7.76
7.62
8.00
7.64
6.79
8.14
9.29
7.78
8.13

7.82
7.65
8.08
7.70
6.75
8.26
9.33
7.73
8.20

309.14
291.51
334.56
304.56
249.56
337.03
382.12
315.66
312.17

316.61
320.04
328.80
307.89
268.88
344.32
392.97
321.31
337.40

319.84
309.83
334.51
308.00
270.00
350.22
379.73
320.02
341.12

G eorgia.......................................................................................
Atlanta ......................................................................................
Savannah ..................................................................................

41.3
41.2
45.8

40.6
40.6
43.3

40.5
41.4
44.2

7.51
8.70
9.59

7.92
9.22
9.98

7.94
9.20
9.72

310.16
358.44
439.22

321.55
374.33
432.13

321.57
380.88
429.62

Hawaii .........................................................................................
Honolulu ....................................................................................

38.3
38.1

37.8
38.4

37.3
38.3

8.49
8.44

8.58
8.72

8.46
8.52

325.17
321.56

324.32
334.85

315.56
326.32

Idaho ...........................................................................................

37.9

37.4

36.1

8.88

9.07

9.20

336.55

339.22

332.12

Illin o is.........................................................................................
Aurora-Elgin..............................................................................
Bloomington-Normal ...............................................................
Champaign-Urbana-Rantoul ..................................................
Chicago ....................................................................................
Davenport-Rock Island-M oline...............................................
D ecatur......................................................................................
Joliet .........................................................................................
Kankakee .................................................................................
Lake County..............................................................................
Peoria........................................................................................
R ockford...................................................................................
Springfield .................................................................................

41.4
38.1
40.9
35.6
41.8
39.2
37.9
41.8
35.3
39.9
38.1
42.1
38.1

40.5
39.8
40.9
40.2
41.3
39.6
41.0
40.1
38.6
40.6
41.5
42.2
41.8

40.2
39.9
38.6
40.2
41.1
38.9
40.8
39.7
37.8
39.6
40.2
42.1
39.6

10.03
10.04
9.45
9.22
9.80
12.26
12.83
11.20
8.85
9.28
12.41
9.97
10.79

10.30
10.03
10.53
9.16
10.09
12.26
13.13
11.42
9.85
10.06
12.61
10.48
11.45

10.31
9.97
10.70
9.12
10.10
12.38
13.20
11.48
10.23
10.00
12.56
10.46
11.48

415.24
382.52
386.51
328.23
409.64
480.59
486.26
468.16
312.41
370.27
472.82
419.74
411.10

417.15
399.19
430.68
368.23
416.72
485.50
538.33
457.94
380.21
408.44
523.32
442.26
478.61

414.46
397.80
413.02
366.62
415.11
481.58
538.56
455.76
386.69
396.00
504.91
450.47
454.61

1 Not available.
p = preliminary.
NOTE: Area definitions are published annually in the May issue of

this publication. All State and area data have been adjusted to March
1984 benchmarks.
SOURCE: Em ploym ent and Earnings, June 1985.

31

Appendix to chapter 3. The
Hourly Earnings Index

Although the index is timely, it has certain shortcom­
ings: (1) It provides no occupational or regional data;
(2) it is not adjusted for the influence of overtime
premium pay in the nonmanufacturing sector, which ac­
counts for two-thirds of total employment; (3) it is
restricted to earnings of production or nonsupervisory
employees; (4) it does not cover the farm and govern­
ment sectors; and (5) supplements to pay are excluded.
These shortcomings have, in part, prompted the
development of the Employment Cost Index. (See
chapter 7.)
The data are published monthly in Bureau
periodicals, including Current Wage Developments and
the Monthly Labor Review, after initial presentation in
the monthly news release, The Employment Situation.
(See figure 3-A.)

The Bureau’s Hourly Earnings Index was first
published in 1971 as an outgrowth of the basic hourly
earnings series described in this chapter. The index ex­
cludes the effects of two types of changes unrelated to
wage-rate developments: Fluctuations in overtime
premiums in manufacturing (the only sector for which
overtime data are available); and changes in the propor­
tion of workers in high-wage and low-wage industries
(but not between high- and low-wage occupations
within an industry). In addition, seasonal adjustment
eliminates the effect of changes that normally occur at
the same time and in about the same magnitude each
year.
The index is constructed for a given month by
weighting the average hourly earnings in each industry
(at the 3-digit level of detail, as defined in the Standard
Industrial Classification Manual) by the employeehours paid for in that industry in 1977. The weighted
average for that month is then compared with the 1977
average.
Starting with January 1964, data are available by
month in both current and deflated (1977) dollars for
the private nonfarm economy and for seven broad in­
dustry divisions. For the manufacturing division only,
monthly data are available back to 1947. For the private
nonfarm sector only, annual averages are available
from 1947 to 1963, calculated at the industry division
level of detail. These are linked to the series starting in
1964.

Richard E. Schumann
Office of Wages and
Industrial Relations

References
Samuels, Norman J. “ New Hourly Earnings Index,” Monthly

Labor Review, December 1971, pp. 66-67.

32

Figure 3-A
15.

T h e H o u rly E a rn in g s In d e x , b y in d u s try

[Production or nonsupervisory workers on private nonagricultural payrolls; 1977 = 100]
S e a s o n a lly adjusted

Not s e a s o n a lly adjusted
Percent

Percent

change
Industry

change

M ay

Mar.

Apr.

M ay

Irom :

M ay

Jan.

Feb.

M ar.

Apr.

M ay

from:

1984

1985

1985P

1985*

M a y 1984

1984

1985

1985

1985

1 98 5 *

1985*

Apr. 1985

to

P R IV A T E S E C T O R (In current d o lla rs)

Mining ..........................................
Construction...................................
Manufacturing.................................
Transportation and public utilities .........
Wholesale t r a d e ...............................
Retail trade.....................................
Finance, insurance, and real estate.........
Services ........................................
P R IV A T E S E C T O R (In constant d o lla rs)

to

M a y 1985

M a y 1985

159 9

164.3

164.7

164.8

3.1

159.9

163.0

164.0

164 4

164.7

164.8

0.1

172.6
147 6
162 1
160 9
164 4
154 2
164 2
161 7

177.8
148.8
167 3
164 8
169.9
155.8
170.3
167 4

178.4
149.1
168.0
164.7
170.6
155.9
170.6
167.8

178.0
149.0
168.2
164.3
170.6
156.0
170.8
167 9

3.1
1.0
3.8
2.7
3.8
1.2
4.1
3.8

(’)
148 3
162 3
160.8

(1)
149.2
166.3
163.5

(1)
150.8
166.9
164.2

<1)
149 9
167.4
165.4

(1)
150.3
167.9
165.2

(1)
149 8
168.5
165.1

<1)
- 4
.3

<1)
153 5

(1)
154.5

(’ )
155.4

(1)
155.5

(1)
155.4

(’ )
155 4

(2)
I 1)
-.1

<1)
161.6

<1)
164.9

(’ )
166.2

(1)
167.2

(1)
167.6

<1)
167.7

<1>
.1

95 0

94.6

94.4

(3)

95.0

94.5

94.7

94.5

94.3

<
3>

<
3)

1Ttiis series is not seasonally adjusted because the seasonal component is small relative to the trend
cycle, irregular components, or both, and consequently cannot be separated with sufficient precision.

(3)

p = preliminary.

2Percent change is less than .05 percent.

NOTE: Data have been revised to reflect March 1984 benchmarks and updated seasonal adjustment
factors. Because of these revisions, data in this table may differ from data published previously.

3Not available

SO U RCE:

33

Monthly Labor Review, July 1985.

Chapter 4. Earnings
Statistics from the Current
Population Survey

tion news release and the periodical Employment and
Earnings. Participation in the CPS is not compulsory;
survey respondents are assured that all information ob­
tained is completely confidential and is used only for the
purpose of statistical analysis.1
In addition to the monthly basic questions on labor
force status, the c p s questionnaire frequently contains
supplemental questions on other subjects. For example,
each March, information is collected on the previous
calendar year’s earnings, income from other sources,
and work experience. Between 1967 and 1978 (except
1968), supplemental questions on usual weekly earnings
were asked each May; questions on hourly earnings
were added in May 1973. Data obtained through CPS
supplemental questions have been published by b l s in
news releases, Monthly Labor Review articles, bulletins,
and reports.

Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics analyzes
and publishes data on the labor force, employment,
unemployment, and persons not in the labor force,
classified by demographic, social, and economic
characteristics. These statistics are derived from the
Current Population Survey (C P S), also a valuable source
of information on earnings.This survey is conducted us­
ing a sample of households, representative of the
civilian noninstitutional population of the United
States.
The forerunner to the c p s was the Monthly Report on
Unemployment. It was initiated by the Works Progress
Administration in 1940 in response to the increased need
for data on the employment status of the U.S. popula­
tion. In 1942, when the survey was transferred to the
Bureau of the Census, its title was changed to Monthly
Report on the Labor Force, and in 1948 it was changed
to its present name, c p s , to reflect the expanded role of
the survey as a source of key economic and social data.
In 1959, responsibility for analyzing and publishing
labor force data was transferred to BLS.
The Current Population Survey produces data on the
weekly earnings of wage and salary workers and their
families, which b l s publishes on a quarterly basis. In
addition, annual earnings and some total income data
are published in conjunction with data on the economic
status of families and on the employment problems of
workers. Data on the hourly earnings of workers paid
hourly rates are available in unpublished form. Because
it is a household survey, the CPS is able to provide
substantial detail on the demographic, social, and
economic characteristics of workers and their families.
These data complement earnings data from another b l s
survey, the Current Employment Statistics survey of
business establishments. (See chapter 3.)

Collection of data

Usual weekly and hourly earnings. During the 1960’s
and 1970’s the demand for demographic data on earn­
ings grew considerably. Such data were needed to keep
track of the differences in earnings among the various
population groups—men and women; whites, blacks,
and Hispanics; the young and the old. In addition, there
was an increasing demand for data on the earnings of
families, particularly those with two or more workers
and those in which some members were unemployed.
Such earnings data, particularly for families, cannot
conveniently be derived from the various surveys of
establishments conducted by b l s . For instance, while
the Current Employment Statistics survey (also known
as the establishment survey) provides a large body of
monthly data on employment and earnings by industry
and geographic area, it yields no information on the
distribution of earnings by such characteristics of the
earners as age, race, or family status. With the increased

Description of the survey

The Current Population Survey is conducted for the
by the Bureau of the Census. It uses a scientifically
selected national sample of about 59,500 occupied
households chosen from 729 sample areas in 1,973
counties and independent cities, with coverage in all 50
States and the District of Columbia. The survey pro­
vides the household employment and unemployment
data published each month in The Employment Situa­
bls

1 The U.S. Bureau o f the Census publishes numerous reports con­
taining information from the CPS in its Current Population Reports
(CPR series). For example, data on educational attainment and marital
and family status are published in the P-20 (P opulation
Characteristics) series o f CPR. Statistics on earnings, other money in­
come, non-cash benefits, and poverty status are published in the P-60
(Consumer Income) series o f CPR. (See appendix A.)

34

The occasional receipt of such earnings are not to be in­
cluded. The hourly earnings question asks only for the
stated hourly wage rate; hence tips, commissions, and
overtime pay are not included. Neither question elicits
information about the value of any payments in kind or
fringe benefits. Both questions pertain to gross earn­
ings, that is, earnings before any deductions for taxes,
insurance, union dues, etc.
The time to which the term “ usual” applies—usual
weekly hours, usual weekly earnings—is not specified in
the survey. Thus, the reference period is determined by
the respondent. If the respondent asks the enumerator
for a definition of “ usual,” the latter is instructed to
define the term as the number of hours worked or the
earnings received during the majority of weeks over the
past 4 or 5 months. On the other hand, the term
“ usual” is not included in the question on hourly earn­
ings, since the purpose of the question is to obtain the
current hourly rate.

demand for this type of data, b l s , beginning in January
1979, incorporated some questions on weekly and hourly
earnings into the basic monthly CPS questionnaire. But
because only one-quarter of the respondents in any one
month are asked about their earnings, the resulting data
are averaged over a 3-month period for publication of
the weekly earnings on a quarterly basis.
Annual earnings. Information on annual earnings has
been collected, along with data on other sources of in­
come, since 1947 in a supplement to the c p s (currently
in March). These earnings data can be linked to the
number of weeks worked during the year and are thus
particularly useful as indicators of the labor market
situation and long-term earning power of the various
population groups. In addition, these data are used to
estimate the earnings of the various family members
(for example, wives) as a share of total family income.
Survey concepts

Annual earnings. The earnings questions asked in the
March supplement to the c p s refer to the amount of all
wages, salaries, and profits or losses from selfemployment received during the previous calendar year
by workers living in the household at the time of the
survey. Earnings are derived from the following three
sources:
1. Money wages or salaries earned from work per­
formed as an employee. These may consist of wages,
salaries, commissions, tips, piece-rate payments, and
cash bonuses. The questions focus on earnings before
any deductions for personal income taxes or other
reasons.
2. Net money income from nonfarm selfemployment, that is, gross receipts minus expenses from
an individual’s own business, professional enterprise, or
partnership.

Weekly and hourly earnings. Each month, the following
questions are asked about every wage and salary worker
in one-quarter of the households in the CPS sample:
How many hours per week does. . .
this job?

u su a lly

work at

Is . . . paid by the hour on this job?
(If yes)
How much does . . . earn per hour?
How much does . . . u s u a l l y earn per week at this
job b e f o r e deductions? Include any overtime pay,
commissions, or tips usually received.

3. N et m oney in com e from farm self-em p loym en t,

namely, gross receipts minus expenses from the opera­
tion of a farm by an owner, renter, or sharecropper.

Weekly and hourly earnings data are not obtained for
self-employed workers—including those who have in­
corporated their businesses and thus are classified as
wage and salary workers—because it is difficult to
estimate the “ usual” earnings of such workers and to
distinguish any wage and salary component from other
income associated with the businesses. In 1984, there
were 92.1 million wage and salary workers, excluding
the incorporated self-employed, of whom 54.1 million
were paid hourly rates. Coverage of the c p s is nation­
wide, spanning all occupations and industries and both
the private and public sectors. For persons holding more
than one job, data refer only to the primary job—the
one at which he or she worked the most hours during the
reference week for the survey.
Instructions for the question on weekly earnings
specify that any overtime pay, commissions, or tips
usually received be included in the reported amount.

The questions used to obtain these annual earnings
data are:
How much did . . . earn from this employer before
deductions during (the year)?
This question is asked of all wage and salary workers,
including the incorporated self-employed, concerning
the job held the greatest number of weeks during the
year. For most wage and salary workers, a job is defined
as all the time worked for the same employer. The ex­
ception is work for private households, which is counted
as a single job regardless of the number of employers.
For the unincorporated self-employed, the following is
asked:
35

What was . . .’s net earnings from this business/farm
after expenses during (the year)?

naire. For part-time workers, the floor is $20, and ceil­
ings range from $749 to $999 (again, depending on oc­
cupation). (Beginning in 1986, maximum machinereadable entries and range check ceilings will be raised.)
In-range entries for hourly paid workers have a floor of
50 cents and ceilings from $29.99 to $99.99. Entries out­
side the specified range or with missing digits are treated
as a nonresponse.
The next processing step is an editing procedure to
either calculate missing data or assign a record to be
allocated for nonresponse. Editing takes place if: (1)
there is no response to the usual weekly earnings ques­
tion, but there are entries for usual hours worked and
hourly earnings (The product of the two is then given a
range check; a valid result is entered as the usual weekly
earnings.); (2) there is no entry to the question on
whether the worker is paid an hourly rate, but an hourly
rate is entered on the questionnaire; or (3) the worker is
reported to be paid an hourly rate, but no value has
been reported. (The reported usual weekly earnings
value is divided by the number of hours usually worked,
the quotient is given a range check, and a valid result is
entered as hourly earnings.)
Out-of-range items and blank items which cannot be
filled in during the editing stage are allocated. For a per­
son with no entry for an item, allocation is performed
by matching his or her record with that of a person of
similar demographic and other characteristics who has
an entry for the item in question. The value on the
donor record is then inserted onto the record requiring
allocation. This procedure has long been used in pro­
cessing most other data series from the c p s as well as in
the processing of the decennial censuses. The computer
program for the processing of the weekly and hourly
earnings data contains four levels of allocation, with the
highest level—a level-1 match—having the largest
number of characteristics for matching the two records,
and the lowest level—a level-4 match—having the least
number of characteristics. There are 12 characteristic
items used in determining a level-1 match, while a
level-4 match has only four characteristic items.
If the characteristics of a worker whose earnings en­
tries require allocation do not match anyone at level 1
for whom valid earnings information has been reported,
an attempt is made for a match at the next level. Upon a
failure to match at level 2, successive levels are tried un­
til a match is found. For the very few cases in which a
record requiring allocation could not be matched with a
donor record at any level, values approximating earn­
ings averages for recent months are inserted for the
missing items. During the first 4 years (1979-82) of col­
lecting these data, the proportion of weekly earnings
items which had to be allocated for full-time workers
averaged 16.2 percent. The allocation rate for those
paid by the hour averaged somewhat less—12.9 percent.
The next processing step is the estimation procedure.

All respondents are then asked:
Does this amount include all tips, bonuses, overtime
pay, or commissions . . . may have received?
Did . . . earn money from any other work he/she did
during (the year)?
How much did . . . earn from:
All other employers?
His/her own business after expenses?
His/her own farm after expenses?
Since 1984, persons in the civilian noninstitutional
population whose longest job was in the Armed Forces
during the previous year have been included in BLS
tabulations on annual earnings. Previously, the tabula­
tions were limited to jobs held as a civilian.
Annual earnings questions are part of the larger series
of supplemental questions asked in March on money in­
come from sources such as Social Security, railroad
retirement, supplemental security income, public
assistance or welfare payments, interest, dividends, net
rental income, veterans’ payments, unemployment com­
pensation, employee pensions, alimony, and child sup­
port. Money income does not include noncash benefits
received by persons as part of their income, such as food
stamps, subsidized housing, or the value of fringe
benefits. Also, while the data refer to income in the
previous year, the demographic characteristics of the
person (such as age or family status) obtained at the
same time refer to the time of the survey. The Bureau of
the Census is the primary sponsor of the annual income
data, publishing information on earnings and other
sources of income in the Current Population Reports,
Series P-60. (See appendix.) The BLS publishes annual
earnings and some income data of a specialized nature,
such as those relating to working wives and to the labor
market problems of workers.
Processing the data

To develop usable estimates of average earnings for
the population as a whole, the sample data collected in
the CPS must undergo a series of processing procedures,
which are performed for b l s by the Bureau of the Census.
Information collected from each interview is first
checked to determine if the reported earnings are within
a reasonable range and if entries contain all digits. Ac­
ceptable ranges for usual weekly earnings are based on
both the occupation and the hours usually worked. For
full-time workers, the floor is $20 to $30 a week (depen­
ding on occupation) and the ceiling is $999, the highest
value which can be coded onto the present question­
36

This procedure weights the data from each sample per­
son to the number of people that person represents in
the population. The basic weight, which is the inverse of
the probability of the person being in the sample, is only
a rough measure of this representation. Basic weights
must be adjusted for noninterview and to account for
the fact that the distribution of the population selected
for the sample may differ somewhat (by chance) from
that of the population as a whole, by characteristics
such as age, race, sex, and residence. The weighting pro­
cedure requires that the sum of sample weights agree
with independent estimates of the civilian noninstitutional population by age, race, and sex based on
statistics from decennial censuses; statistics on births,
deaths, immigration, and emigration; and statistics on
the strength of the Armed Forces. The estimation pro­
cedure for family data also involves a further adjust­
ment so that the husband and wife of a household
receive the same weight. Since the weekly and hourly
earnings data are collected from only one-quarter of the
CPS sample households, weights for these items are
roughly four times the weight for full-sample items.
Detailed information on CPS estimation methods is
published in bls Handbook o f Methods, Employment
and Earnings, and Bureau of the Census publications,
such as Current Population Reports, Series P-60.
Reliability of the data

Sampling error. In any sample survey, variations in the
data can occur by chance because a sample rather than
the entire population is surveyed. A measure of this
variation is called the standard error. The chances are
about 68 out of 100 that an estimate from the sample
would differ from a complete census by less than the
standard error. The chances are about 95 out of 100 that
it would be less than twice the standard error, and about
99 out of 100 that it would be less than 2Vi times the
standard error. All statements of comparison appearing
in the text of b l s publications with CPS earnings data are
significant at the 90-percent level (1.6 standard errors).
If other factors are held constant, the relative size of
the standard error is inversely related to the number of
persons sampled. Since only one-quarter of the wage
and salary workers in the monthly sample are asked the
weekly and hourly earnings questions, the standard error
is relatively large and publication of the earnings data
on a monthly basis is not deemed advisable. Similarly,
quarterly and annual average data on weekly and hourly
earnings—as well as the full-sample data from the
March supplement—covering small population groups
may be subject to relatively large standard errors. Thus,
the user is cautioned against drawing conclusions from
relatively small differences among numbers for small
population groups without first examining the standard
errors for these estimates.

Because of the large standard errors associated with
small numbers, measures of weekly and hourly earnings
derived from a base of fewer than 100,000 persons for
the quarterly data and fewer than 50,000 for the annual
average data are not shown. The minimum base for
publishing specific detail from the annual earnings data
is 75,000. There is little chance that summary measures
based on smaller numbers would reveal any useful in­
formation.2
Nonsampling error. In any survey, results also are sub­
ject to errors of response and nonreporting in addition
to sampling variability. Such nonsampling errors can be
attributed to failure to represent all households within
the sample or all persons within sample households
(undercoverage), differences in the interpretation of
questions, inability or unwillingness on the part of
respondents to provide accurate information, a tendency
of respondents to provide rounded numbers, errors
made in collection such as in recording or coding the
data, errors made in processing the data, and errors
made in estimating values for missing data (allocation).
The standard errors provided with published data on
earnings relate primarily to the magnitude of the sam­
pling error; however, they also partially measure the ef­
fect of some nonsampling errors in response and
enumeration. They do not measure any systematic
biases in the data. An example of a systematic bias
would be the reporting of after-tax, rather than gross,
earnings—a systematic downward bias. The full extent
of nonsampling error is unknown.
The error due to the misreporting of earnings is dif­
ficult to quantify. Obviously, in many cases, a respon­
dent’s memory serves as the only source of earnings
information. With respect to annual earnings data, the
Bureau of the Census attempts to minimize the error
associated with faulty memories by scheduling the col­
lection of in com e in the m onth of M arch. Since the
deadline for filing income tax returns is less than a
month away, respondents should be more familiar with
their own and other household members’ previous
year’s earnings than in other months.
Asking for usual weekly hours and earnings instead
of hours and earnings for a specific week reduces the
risk of obtaining data which, because of sudden fluctua­
tions in hours and earnings (such as might be produced
by bad weather, illness, vacation, a holiday, or special
overtime work), would not represent the typical earn­
ings pattern. It also permits the collection of data for
people who are employed but not at work during the
reference week. Moreover, a person supplying informa­
tion for other members of the household is more likely
to know the usual amount of weekly earnings or hours
2 See Earl F. Mellor, Technical Description o f the Quarterly Data on
Weekly Earnings from the Current Population Survey, Bulletin 2113,
Bureau o f Labor Statistics, 1982.

37

type of family, number and family relationship of
earners, race, and Hispanic origin. (See figure 4-3.) Ad­
ditional data include the median earnings of families
with unemployed members.
Beginning in 1985, annual average data from 1983
forward on the median usual weekly earnings of full­
time workers by union affiliation, tabulated by age, sex,
race, Hispanic origin, occupation, and major industry
group, are published in the January issue of Employ­
ment and Earnings.
Occasional articles on earnings appear in the Monthly
Labor Review. Recent articles have focused on median
weekly earnings for detailed occupations and on earn­
ings differences between men and women. (A list of
selected articles appears at the end of this chapter.)

than the actual amounts in a given week. On the other
hand, for those workers paid hourly rates, the term
“ usual” is not used since respondents are likely to be
familiar with the current hourly rate of pay.
A special test to gauge the accuracy of the reporting
of earnings data in the CPS conducted in 1977, revealed
a difference of 3 percent between the earnings reported
by a subsample of workers and the earnings reported by
their employers. There were, however, relatively larger
differences between the two sets of data in specific earn­
ings intervals, particularly at the low end of the earnings
distribution. Also, as might be expected, the difference
between the two sets of data was greater where the
household information was obtained from proxy
respondents (such as a wife reporting her husband’s and
daughter’s earnings) than where it was obtained from
the workers themselves. Probably because the earnings
of men are more likely to be obtained from proxy
respondents, the average difference in their earnings,
relative to the amount reported by employers, was
somewhat greater than that for women.3
The degree of underreporting or overreporting of an­
nual earnings can be estimated by comparing the CPS
data with aggregate estimates of earnings from other
sources, such as the Bureau of Economic Analysis
( b e a ). One such comparison, using 1983 BEA estimates
adjusted to c p s income concepts, showed that aggregate
wage and salary earnings from the c p s were 99 percent
of the estimates obtained through other sources.

Usual weekly and hourly earnings, unpublished data.
The Bureau maintains unpublished tabulations from
1979 through the present on the annual average weekly
earnings of full-time (and, in some cases, part-time)
workers by characteristics such as age, occupation, in­
dustry and class of worker, marital status, years of
school completed, usual hours worked, and region.
These series are not cross-tabulated with each other, but
all are available by sex, and some are also tabulated
separately for whites, blacks, and Hispanics. The un­
published data include earnings distributions in addition
to the medians and their standard errors. While quarter­
ly data are available for some of these items, they
generally are less detailed, since quarterly estimates are
based on fewer sample cases and are less reliable than
the annual average data.
For many of the series, b l s also has data on the hour­
ly earnings of workers paid hourly rates. Beginning with
information for 1983, annual average figures are
available showing the number of hourly paid workers
who are at or below the prevailing Federal minimum
wage.
Unpublished tabulations also exist for many of the
c p s series covering the 1973-78 period and for a few
items on weekly earnings back to 1967. However, data
prior to 1979 are not strictly comparable with those for
recent years as a result of changes in questionnaire
design, the current exclusion of the incorporated selfemployed from the earnings universe, the shift from
once a year to monthly collection beginning in 1979, and
differences in the handling of nonresponses.
Two additional changes affecting comparability were
introduced in 1983 and 1985: (1) The occupational
classification system was changed in 1983 to conform to
the new system developed as part of the 1980 decennial
census, affecting all occupational comparisons. (2)
Prior to 1983, median earnings were estimated using the
linear interpolation of $50 to $100 uncentered intervals.
From 1983 through the first quarter of 1985, medians
were estimated using $10 uncentered intervals. This

Major

b l s products
The c p s provides a large amount of detail on the in­
come and earnings of the population. Some data are
available through the Bureau’s regular publications pro­
gram; some d a ta a r e u n p u b lis h e d ; a n d s o m e are
available on computer tapes.

Usual weekly earnings, published series, b l s publishes
two quarterly news releases on weekly earnings, “ Week­
ly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers” and
“ Employment and Earnings Characteristics of
Families.” 4 Data on individuals include the median earn­
ings of full-time and part-time workers by sex, age,
race, Hispanic origin, and family relationship. In addi­
tion, the median earnings of full-time workers are crosstabulated by sex and occupation. (See figures 4-1 and
4-2.) Median weekly earnings of families are shown by
3 For more information on this test, see “ Comparing Earnings Data
from the CPS and Employer Records,” by Larry Carstensen and
Henry Woltman o f the Bureau o f the Census, in American Statistical
Association, Proceedings o f the Social Statistics Section, 1979, pp.
168-173.
4 Most o f the earnings data in the two releases are also published in
the January, April, July, and October issues of Employment and Ear­
nings. Between 1979, when the weekly earnings data first became
available on a quarterly basis, and 1984, similar information on the
earnings o f both individuals and families was published in the news
release series, “ Earnings of Workers and Their Families.”

38

time or part time during the previous year. These tables
present the data cross-classified by sex and race, and, in
some cases, Hispanic origin and age as well. (Some of
these data are published by the Bureau of the Census in
its Current Population Reports, Series P-60.) Among
tabulations of educational attainment are two earnings
tables which present earnings distributions, medians,
and means for year-round full-time workers who were
wage and salary workers on the longest job, crossclassified by occupation, years of school completed,
age, race, and Hispanic origin.

change was introduced to reduce a systematic upward
bias resulting from the use of wider uncentered intervals
for earnings data subject to a high incidence of roun­
ding by c p s respondents. In the second quarter of 1985,
the procedure was changed back to $50-wide intervals,
but these were centered around multiples of $50. This
procedure lessens the sometimes erratic movements in
medians caused by having a large number of narrow in­
tervals. For example, a $10 interval with a rounded
amount may have many more observations than adjoin­
ing intervals. It also minimizes still further the upward
bias of median estimates.

Computer tapes. Machine-readable tapes with the in­
dividual respondents’ answers to all the basic and sup­
plemental c p s questions are available for purchase from
b l s . These tapes do not show any information which
could identify respondents, but they do permit users to
prepare tables for their particular needs and to utilize
statistical techniques, for example, multiple regression,
on a large number of observations. For additional infor­
mation on the content and availability of these tapes, in­
quiries should be directed to Office of Employment and
Unemployment Statistics, Division of Data Develop­
ment and Users’ Services, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Washington, D.C. 20212.

Annual earnings and income, published series. As in­
dicated earlier, the Bureau of the Census has the prin­
cipal responsibility for publishing annual income data
from the CPS in Current Population Reports, Series
P-60. The BLS, however, publishes annual income data
as well, in conjunction with certain special analytical
endeavors. For the past several years, the Bureau has
published a report that analyzes data on annual earnings
and other sources of money income in relation to
employment-related problems of workers. The first
report was for 1979. This report, Linking Employment
Problems to Economic Status, assesses the extent of
labor market hardship among U.S. workers and relates
it to the economic well-being of their families (figures 4-4
through 4-6).
In the past several years, BLS also has published earn­
ings and income information from the March CPS as
part of its annual report on the work experience of the
population during the preceding year. For example, the
report on employment and unemployment during 1983
contains information on the relationship between
unemployment and family income.

Uses and limitations

As noted earlier, the data on earnings from the CPS
are particularly useful because they can be linked with a
variety of dem ographic and socioeconom ic
characteristics. For example, earnings can be crosstabulated by age, race, and occupation; or the earnings
of husbands and wives can be compared by family size
and type.
Some differences between the weekly (and hourly)
and the annual earnings should be noted. The weekly
data, of course, are much more timely than the annual
data obtained in M arch, as they are available four times
a year—about 1 month following the close of the
quarter. Annual earnings are usually available in the
summer following the reference year. Since the weekly
and hourly earnings questions are on each month’s
questionnaire, a large number of sample cases can be ac­
cumulated over the year to permit detailed annual
average tabulations (about 180,000 records on full-time
wage and salary workers). On the other hand, informa­
tion on all sources of income, including earnings from
all jobs—not only the primary job—is collected in the
March survey. Thus, annual earnings can be related to
other components of money income (for the individual
and his or her family) and to data on the work ex­
perience of persons that are also collected in March.
The use of a household survey to obtain earnings
statistics has its limitations. Because survey results must
be timely, and collection and processing costs held to a
minimum, the sample size must be small enough to

Annual earnings and income, unpublished series. One
series of b l s unpublished tabulations from the March
CPS focuses on the marital and family characteristics of
workers and includes data on earnings in the previous
calendar year of all married women (and of those who
worked year round, full time) cross-tabulated by race,
their husband’s earnings, and the presence and age of
children. Also available are earnings data by marital
status, years of school completed, and race. Additional
tables show the number of earners in the family and the
contribution to family income made by wives and by
women who maintain families. Some of these tabula­
tions first became available with release of the March
1959 c p s , but most have been tabulated only since
March 1976.
Other unpublished tabulations from the March c p s
contain earnings data for various “ work experience”
items. Included in this series of four tables are annual
earnings distributions, medians, and means tabulated
by such items as the number of weeks worked, weeks
unemployed, and whether workers usually worked full
39

enable the publication of basic employment and
unemployment data within a few weeks of the survey
reference week. Such a sample size precludes the tabula­
tion of earnings data by the geographic and industrial
detail, for example, that an establishment survey can
provide. One household respondent provides figures for
only one or a few people, while one establishment
respondent may give out aggregate payroll data on hun­
dreds or thousands of workers.
Whereas the CPS affords users of earnings data the
advantage of de mographic detail, it is important to
recognize that, as the level of detail is increased, the
number of sample cases on which estimates of earnings,
their medians, and means are based (and the size of in­
dividual cells in earnings distributions) decreases. This,
in turn, reduces the reliability of the estimates, especially
for small groups. In 1984, for example, while the stand­
ard error of the median usual weekly earnings (annual
averages) of all full-time workers was only 60 cents,
the standard error of the median for Hispanic men with
4 years of college or more was over $23.
Year-to-year changes in the median earnings of
specific groups may not necessarily be consistent with
movements estimated for the overall median. This oc­
curs because of the following circumstances: (1) Survey
observations tend to be clustered at rounded values—
e.g., $250, $300, $400—and thus an estimated median
lying in a $50 interval with such a cluster changes more
slowly than one in a non-clustered interval. Therefore,
if the medians for component groups are not in a cluster

but the overall median is, then the increase in the overall
median will be less than for its components. (2) If a
lower-earning group accounts for a sufficiently increas­
ed share of the total, the relative weights of the
subgroups could change. The overall median could then
rise less than for any of the groups.
In addition, many respondents are reluctant to reveal
information about their earnings, and some refuse to
provide the data (or underreport them). Since the
characteristics of respondents who do not report earn­
ings may be different from those who report, the data
may be subject to biases for which the allocation process
described earlier cannot fully compensate. Also, the CPS
interviewer may speak with only one member of the
household, who may not be able to report the earnings
of others as accurately as his or her own earnings.
While earnings data from the Current Population
Survey have their limitations, they, nevertheless, remain
the principal means of providing the Nation with earn­
ings statistics in combination with demographic detail.
Data collected from employer records generally do not
provide any earnings information for specific popula­
tion groups and, given the nature of present recordkeep­
ing systems, the costs and burdens employers would be
faced with to collect demographic data make such a
possibility quite remote.
Earl F. Mellor
Office of Employment and
Unemployment Statistics

Flaim, Paul O ., Weekly and Hourly Earnings Data from the Current
Population Survey, U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor
Statistics, Special Labor Force Report No. 195, 1977.

Occupations,” Monthly Labor Review, January 1985, pp. 54-59.
Mellor, Earl F., and Stamas, George D ., “ Usual Weekly Earnings:
Another Look at Intergroup Differences and Basic Trends,” Mon­
thly Labor Review, April 1982, pp. 15-24.

Flaim, Paul O ., “ New Data on Union Members and Their Earnings,”
Employment and Earnings, January 1985, pp. 13-14.

Sehgal, Ellen, “ Work Experience in 1983 Reflects the Effects o f the
Recovery,” Monthly Labor Review, December 1984, pp. 18-24.

Hayghe, Howard, “ Weekly Family Earnings: a Quarterly Perspec­
tive,” Monthly Labor Review, August 1982, pp. 46-49.

U.S. Department o f Commerce, Bureau o f the Census, Current
Population Reports, Series P-60, N o. 146, “ Money Income o f
Households, Families, and Persons in the United States, 1983.”

Mellor, Earl F., Technical Description o f the Quarterly Data on
Weekly Earnings from the Current Population Survey, U.S.
Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics, Bulletin 2113,
1982.

U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics, Handbook o f
Methods, Bulletin 2134-1, 1982.

Mellor, Earl F ., “ Investigating the Differences in Weekly Earnings o f
Women and Men,” Monthly Labor Review, June 1984, pp. 17-28.

U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics, Linking
Employment Problems to Economic Status, Bulletin 2201, 1984.

Mellor, Earl F ., “ Weekly Earnings in 1983: A Look at More Than 200

40

Figure 4.1
Table 1. Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by selected characteristics, quarterly
averages, not seasonally adjusted
Number of workers
(in thousands)

Median weekly earnings
In current dollars

Characteristic
II
1984

II
1985

Total, 16 years and o v e r ................................

74,728

Men, 16 years and over ............................
16 to 24 y e a rs .........................................
25 years and o v e r..................................
Women, 16 years and o v e r........................
16 to 24 y e a rs .........................................
25 years and o v e r..................................

In constant (1977) dollars

II
1984

II
1985

II
1984

II
1985

76,834

$323

$347

$189

$196

44,530
7,319
37,211

45,635
7,074
38,561

388
227
420

408
241
446

228
133
246

230
136
252

30,199
5,479
24,720

31,199
5,529
25,670

263
204
281

280
212
300

154
120
165

158
120
169

Husbands ...................................................
W iv e s ..........................................................
Women who maintain fa m ilie s .................
Men who maintain fa m ilie s ........................

29,813
15,706
4,237
1,185

30,139
16,114
4,292
1,392

424
271
264
390

458
290
282
397

249
159
155
229

259
164
160
225

Other persons in families:
Men ........................................................
W o m e n ...................................................
All other m e n '.............................................
All other women' .......................................

6,043
4,083
7,490
6,171

6,126
4,388
7,978
6,404

224
208
363
291

240
215
375
310

131
122
213
170

136
121
212
175

White ..........................................................
Men ........................................................
W om e n...................................................

64,876
39,296
25,580

66,402
40,109
26,292

333
397
266

357
418
283

195
233
156

202
236
160

Black ..........................................................
Men ........................................................
W om e n...................................................

7,928
4,203
3,725

8,312
4,340
3,972

267
301
240

284
303
264

157
176
140

160
171
149

Hispanic o r ig in ...........................................
Men ........................................................
W o m e n ...................................................

(2)

O

5,134
3,383
1,750

o
(2
)

274
295
240

(*)
(2
)

155
166
135

SEX AND AGE

FAMILY RELATIONSHIP

RACE, HISPANIC ORIGIN,
AND SEX

(*)

O

0

centered intervals rather than the $10 intervals previously used; data for 1984
have been recalculated. Detail for the above race and Hispanic-origin groups
will not sum to totals because data for the "other races” group are not
presented and Hispanics are included in both the white and black population
groups.

1The majority of these persons are living alone or with nonrelatives. Also
included are persons in married-couple families where the husband or wife is
in the Armed Forces and persons in unrelated subfamilies.
2 Data on Hispanic wage and salary earners for 1984 are not available on a
revised basis that reflects the adjustments to the population totals introduced
in January 1985.

SOURCE: BLS New Release, "W eekly Earnings of Wage and Salary
Workers: Second Quarter 1985,” USDL 85-340, August 29, 1985.

NOTE: Data on median weekly earnings are now derived using $50

41

Figure 4-2
Table 3. M edian usual w eekly earnings of full-tim e w age and salary w orkers by occupation and sex, quarterly averages,
not seasonally adjusted
Number of workers
(in thousands)

Occupation and sex

Median weekly earnings

II
1984

II
1985

II
1984

II
1985

Managerial and professional specialty....................
Executive, administrative, and managerial..........
Professional specialty..........................................

18,572
8,610
9,961

19,288
9,126
10,162

$458
476
445

$487
494
483

Technical, sales, and administrative support
Technicians and related support ........................
Sales occupations ..............................................
Administrative support, including clerical

22,356
2,642
6,768
12,946

23,456
2,677
7,237
13,542

295
385
315
275

309
395
341
288

Service occupations................................................
Private household
Protective service................................................
Service, except private household and
protective..........................................................

7,606
340
1,424

7,830
295
1,406

215
138
356

219
138
386

5,842

6,129

203

206

Precision production, craft, and repair....................
Mechanics and repairers....................................
Construction trades
Other precision production, craft, and repair ..

10,577
3,697
3,210
3,670

10,982
3,948
3,331
3,703

384
389
385
379

401
403
397
403

Operators, fabricators, and laborers ......................
Machine operators, assemblers, and
inspectors...........................................................
Transportation and material moving
occupations ......................................................
Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers,
and laborers......................................................

14,199

13,932

283

294

7,394

7,035

273

287

3,594

3,725

336

359

3,211

3,172

251

252

Farming, forestry, and fishing..................................

1,418

1,345

200

202

10,747
5,622
5,125

10,981
5,673
5,308

546
566
530

580
586
573

8,469
1,554
4,090
2,825

8,854
1,531
4,329
2,994

401
443
400
375

424
467
440
397

266

276

TOTAL

Men
Managerial and professional specialty....................
Executive, administrative, and managerial
Professional specialty....................................
T echnical, sale s, and adm inistrative support

Technicians and related support
Sales occupations ..............................................
Administrative support, including clerical............
Service occupations................................................
Private household
Protective service................................................
Service, except private household and
protective..........................................................

3,867
8
1,296

3,889
11
1,252

(’)

(’)

356

392

2,563

2,626

231

236

Precision production, craft, and repair....................
Mechanics and repairers....................................
Construction trades ............................................
Other precision production, craft, and repair . . . .

9,622
3,539
3,179
2,903

10,160
3,803
3,289
3,067

397
391
386
413

411
403
399
432

Operators, fabricators, and laborers ......................
Machine operators, assemblers, and
inspectors
Transportation and material moving
occupations......................................................
Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers,
and laborers......................................................

10,546

10,555

316

323

4,377

4,353

331

339

3,414

3,551

342

370

2,756

2,651

263

262

Farming, forestry, and fishing..................................

1,279

1,196

203

204

7,825
2,988
4,837

8,307
3,453
4,854

375
355
384

404
389
412

Women
Managerial and professional spcialty......................
Executive, administrative, and managerial..........
Professional specialty..........................................
See footnotes at end of table.

42

Figue 4-2
T able 3. C o n tin ued — M edian usual weekly earnings of full-tim e w age and salary w orkers by occupation and sex, quarterly
averages, not seasonally adjusted
Number of workers
(in thousands)

Median weekly earnings

Occupation and sex
II

II

II

II

1984

1985

1984

1985

Technical, sales, and administrative support..........
Technicians and related support ........................
Sales occupations ..............................................
Administrative support, including clerical............

13,887
1,088
2,678
10,121

14,602
1,146
2,908
10,549

$258
308
215
261

$270
331
223
272

Service occupations................................................
Private household................................................
Protective service................................................
Service, except private household and
protective...........................................................

3,739
332
129

3,941
284
154

185
136
346

188
135
292

3,279

3,502

188

191

Precision production, craft, and repair....................
Mechanics and repairers....................................
Construction trades ............................................
Other precision production craft, and repair........

956
158
31
766

823
145
43
635

262
309

272
382

(1
)

(')

252

261

Operators, fabricators, and laborers ......................
Machine operators, assemblers, and
inspectors...........................................................
Transportation and material moving
occupations ......................................................
Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers,
and laborers......................................................

3,653

3,377

206

219

3,018

2,682

204

219

180

174

250

252

455

520

203

210

149

178

180

Women—Continued

Farming, forestry, and fishing..................................

139

1 Data not shown where base is less than 100,000.

SOURCE: BLS News Release, “ Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary
Workers: Second Quarter 1985,” USDL 85-340, August 29, 1985.

NOTE: Data on median weekly earnings are now derived using $50
centered intervals rather than the $10 intervals previously used; data for 1984
have been recalculated.

43

Figure 4.3
T a b le 6. F a m ilie s w ith w a g e a n d s a la ry e a rn e rs by ra c e , H is p a n ic o rig in , ty p e o f fa m ily , a n d m e d ia n u s u a l w e e k ly w a g e
an d s a la ry e a rn in g s , q u a rte rly a v e ra g e s , n o t s e a s o n a lly a d ju s te d

(Numbers in thousands)
Percent distribution

Number of families
Characteristic

Median weekly earnings

II
1984

II
1985

II
1984

II
1985

II
1984

II
1985

40,643
18,811
21,832

41,342
18,968
22,374

100.0
46.3
53.7

100.0
45.9
54.1

$495
324
651

$526
336
696

Married-couple fa m ilie s..........................
One earner..........................................
Husband ..........................................
Wife ................................................
Other family m em ber......................
Two or more earners ..........................
Husband and wife o n ly ....................
Husband, wife, and other family
member(s) ....................................
Husband and other family
member(s) ....................................
Wife and other family member(s) . .
Other family members only ............

32,782
13,472
10,642
2,145
684
19,310
13,420

33,091
13,432
10.414
2,239
779
19,659
13,707

100.0
41.1
32.5
6.5
2.1
58.9
40.9

100.0
40.6
31.5
6.8
2.4
59.4
41.4

543
373
419
203
190
675
641

587
386
442
219
200
719
690

3,113

3,200

9.5

9.7

880

927

2,104
523
151

2,049
506
196

6.4
1.6
.5

6.2
1.5
.6

671
406
372

688
484
436

Families maintained by women
One earner..........................................
Householder....................................
Other family member
Two or more earners ..........................

6,344
4,397
3,487
910
1,947

6,508
4,419
3,404
1,015
2,089

100.0
69.3
55.0
14.3
30.7

100.0
67.9
52.3
15.6
32.1

280
230
234
214
438

302
239
249
196
487

Families maintained by men
One earner
Householder....................................
Other family m em ber......................
Two or more earners ..........................

1,517
942
745
197
575

1,742
1,117
886
231
625

100.0
62.1
49.1
13.0
37.9

100.0
64.1
50.8
13.3
35.9

428
348
384
215
605

468
361
395
217
658

Families with wage or salary earners1 . . . .
One earner..............................................
Two or more earners ..............................

35,153
16,071
19,081

35,712
16,242
19,470

100.0
45.7
54.3

100.0
45.5
54.5

509
345
661

546
358
704

Married-couple fa m ilie s..........................
One earner..........................................
Husband ..........................................
Wife ................................................
Two or more earners ..........................
Husband and wife o n ly ....................

29,315
12,191
9,786
1,803
17,124
11,828

29,544
12,196
9,618
1,893
17,348
12,131

100.0
41.6
33.4
6.2
58.4
40.3

100.0
41.3
32.6
6.4
58.7
41.1

550
381
424
205
681
648

593
396
452
221
723
693

Families maintained by women ..............
One earner..........................................
Two or more earners ..........................

4,606
3,119
1,487

4,743
3,137
1,606

100.0
67.7
32.3

100.0
66.1
33.9

299
243
450

316
250
496

Families maintained by m en....................
One ea rn e r..........................................
Two or more earners ..........................

1,232
761
471

1,425
908
516

100.0
61.8
38.2

100.0
63.8
36.2

452
368
615

485
378
659

Families with wage or salary earners1 ........
One e a rner..............................................
Two or more earners ..............................

4,532
2,347
2,185

4,542
2,273
2,269

100.0
51.8
48.2

100.0
50.0
50.0

368
230
555

391
233
611

Married-couple fa m ilie s..........................
One ea rn e r..........................................
Husband ..........................................
Wife ................................................
Two or more earners ..........................
Husband and wife o n ly ....................

2,677
994
648
281
1,683
1,261

2,670
906
550
285
1,765
1,210

100.0
37.1
24.2
10.5
62.9
47.1

100.0
33.9
20.6
10.7
66.1
45.3

464
263
330
0
598
580

500
248
278
(2
)
667
637

Families maintained by women ..............
One earner..........................................
Two or more earners ..........................

1,595
1,182
413

1,598
1,182
416

100.0
74.1
25.9

100.0
73.9
26.1

235
203
392

259
209
466

Families maintained by m en....................
One earner..........................................
Two or more earners ..........................

260
172
88

274
186
88

100.0
66.1
33.9

100.0
67.9
32.1

361
285
(2
)

358
297
(2
)

TOTAL
Families with wage or salary earners1 ........
One earner..............................................
Two or more earners ..............................

White

Black

See footnote at end of table.

44

Figure 4.3
T a b le 6. C o n tin u e d — F a m ilie s w ith w a g e a n d s a la ry e a rn e rs by ra c e , H is p a n ic o rig in , ty p e o f fa m ily , a n d m e d ia n u s u a l w e e k ly
w a g e a n d s a la ry e a rn in g s , q u a rte rly a v e ra g e s , n o t s e a s o n a lly a d ju s te d

(Numbers in thousands)
Number of families
Characteristic

Percent distribution

Median weekly earnings

II

II

II

II

II

II

1984

1985

1984

1985

1984

1985

Families with wage or salary earners1 ........
One earner...............................................
Two or more earners ..............................

(3
)
(3
)

2,869
1,546
1,324

(3
)
(3
)

100.0
53.9
46.1

(3
)
(3
)

$393
267
552

Married-couple fa m ilie s..........................
One earner...........................................
Husband ...........................................
Wife .................................................
Two or more earners ..........................
Husband and wife o n ly ....................

(3
)
(3
)
(3
)
(3
)

(3
)
(3)
(3)

(3
)
(3
)

432
286
310
193
580
566

Hispanic origin

(3
)

(3
)

(3
)

(3
)

2,155
1,065
873
127
1,090
707

(3
)
(3
)

100.0
49.4
40.5
5.9
50.6
32.8

Families mainained by wom en................
One earner...........................................
Two or more earners ..........................

(3
)
(3
)
(3
)

483
345
138

(3
)
(3
)
(3
)

100.0
71.4
28.6

(3
)
(3
)
(3
)

253
202
420

Families maintained by m en....................
One earner...........................................
Two or more earners ..........................

(3
)
(3
)
(3
)

231
136
95

(3
)
(3
)
(3
)

100.0
58.8
41.2

(3
)
<)
3
(3
)

360
280
(2
)

(3
)

(3
)
(3
)
(3
)
(3
)

1 Excludes families where the husband, wife, or householder is selfemployed.
2 Data not shown where base is less than 100,000.
3 Data on Hispanic families for 1984 are not available on a revised basis
that reflects the adjustments to the population totals introduced in January
1985.

(3
)

data on median weekly earnings are now derived using $50 centered inter­
vals rather than the $10 intervals previously used; data for 1984 have been
recalculated. Detail for the above race and Hispanic-origin groups will not
sum to totals because data for the "other races" group are not presented
and Hispanics are included in both the white and black population groups.
SOURCE: BLS News Release, Employment and Earnings Characteristics
of Families: Second quarter 1985, USDL 85-337, August 21, 1985.

NOTE: Data on families for 1984 reflect revised editing and weighting pro­
cedures and may differ slightly from previously published data. Moreover,

45

Figure 4.4
Table 9. Earnings distribution o f year-round full-tim e w o rkers by sex, race, and Hispanic origin, 1983
(Numbers in thousands)

With earnings of Characteristic

Total

T o ta l..................................
M e n ................................
W o m e n .........................

Median
earnings

Under
$6,700

$6,700$9,999

$10,000$14,999

$15,000$19,999

$20,000$24,999

$25,000
and over

66,828
41,540
25,288

4,453
2,233
2,220

6,511
2,576
3,935

14,009
6,076
7,933

12,546
6,949
5,597

9,536
6,644
2,891

19,773
17,061
2,712

$18,169
21,921
13,906

White ................................
M e n ................................
W o m e n .........................

58,858
37,285
21,573

3,858
1,954
1,904

5,273
2,055
3,218

11,910
5,173
6,737

10,968
6,159
4,809

8,546
6,001
2,545

18,303
15,943
2,360

18,700
22,511
14,054

B lack .................................
M e n ................................
W o m en .........................

6,305
3,284
3,021

464
217
247

1,081
453
628

1,756
781
975

1,321
655
666

713
459
254

970
718
252

14,432
15,934
12,872

Hispanic origin................
M e n ................................
W o m e n .........................

3,502
2,202
1,301

315
150
165

562
267
296

1,008
558
449

691
458
233

393
305
88

533
464
69

14,223
16,152
11,770

SOURCE: L in k in g E m p lo y m e n t P ro b le m s to E c o n o m ic S ta tu s , BLS
Bulletin 2222, M arch 1985

Figure 4.5
Table 10. Earnings distribution of year-round full-tim e w o rkers by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin,
1983
Men
Characteristic

Women

Percent distribution

Total
(thou­
sands)

Total

Under
$6,700

41,540

100.0

5.4

6.2

393
3,599
31,257
5,490
801

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

32.4
10.2
4.0
5.5
22.7

37,285

100.0

359
3,208
27,923
5,065
730 •

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

3,284

100.0

28
319
2,546
337
54

Percent distribution

Median
earnings

Total
(thou­
sands)

Total

Under
$6,700

88.4

$21,921

25,288

100.0

8.8

15.6

75.7

$13,906

29.5
19.7
4.5
4.9
9.7

38.1
70.0
91.5
89.6
67.6

8,331
12,800
23,306
24,193
16,951

313
3,019
18,658
2,920
378

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

38.5
11.9
7.3
9.4
27.3

32.3
27.3
13.2
15.9
19.5

29.1
60.8
79.4
74.7
53.2

7,412
10,872
14,818
13,948
11,090

5.2

5.5

89.2

22,511

21,573

100.0

8.8

14.9

76.3

14,054

33.9
10.1
3.8
5.2
23.4

26.7
17.4
4.0
4.4
9.6

39.4
72.5
92.2
90.4
67 0

8,496
13,138
23,879
24,785
17,001

295
2,707
15,679
2,552
339

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

38.9
11.3
7.5
9.0
24.6

31.3
26.5
12.7
14.0
18.9

29.8
62.2
79.9
77.0
56.5

7,409
10,991
14,972
14,420
12,172

6.6

13.8

79.6

15,934

3,021

100.0

8.2

20.8

71.1

12,872

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

(’)
11.7
5.4
10.1

(’)
41.1
10.1
12.5

0

(’)
$9,733
17,380
14,698
(')

13
266
2,397
311
34

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

O

0

(’)
47.2
84.5
77.4
(’)

18.6
5.7
12.5
(’)

0

47.1
76.6
56.7
(’)

(')
$9,717
13,766
10,780
(')

2,202

100.0

6.8

12.1

81.1

$16,152

1,301

100.0

12.7

22.7

64.6

$11,770

33
256
1,701
192
19

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

(')
13.6
5.3
7.3
(')

(')
21.7
10.0
11.0

0

(’)
$11,463
17,339
17,654
(’)

32
183
966
112
8

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

0

(')
30.7
20.1
32.8
(')

(')
50.5
69.4
51.5
(')

(')
$10,030
12,505
10,217
(’)

$6,700$9,999

$10,000
and over

$6,700$9,999

Median
$10,000 earnings
and over

All year-round
full-time workers
T o ta l..................
Age:
16 to 1 9 ................
20 to 2 4 ................
25 to 5 4 ................
55 to 6 4 ................
65 and over .........
White
T o ta l..................
Age:
16 to 1 9 ................
20 to 2 4 ................
25 to 5 4 ................
55 to 64 ................
65 and over ........
Black
T o ta l..................
Age:
16 to 1 9 ................
20 to 2 4 ................
25 to 5 4 ................
55 to 6 4 ................
65 and over ........

0

(’)
34.3
17.7
30.8

Hispanic origin
T o ta l..................
Age:
16 to 1 9 ................
20 to 2 4 ................
25 to 5 4 ................
55 to 6 4 ................
65 and over ........

’ Data not shown where base is less than 75,000

(')

64.6
84.7
81.7
(’)

______

18.9
10.6
15.7
0

SOURCE: L in k in g E m p lo y m e n t P ro b le m s to E c o n o m ic S ta tu s , BLS
Bulletin 2222, M arch 1985

46

Figure 4-6
T a b le B -3.
1983

E a rn in g s d is trib u tio n o f y e a r-ro u n d fu ll-tim e w o rk e rs b y fa m ily s ta tu s , fa m ily in c o m e , a n d p o v e rty s ta tu s ,

(Numbers in thousands)

With personal earnings of -

Characteristic

Under
$6,700

Total

Under
$3,000

Total

$3,000
to
$6,699

$6,700
to
$9,999

$10,000
to
$14,999

$15,000
and
over

Median
personal
earnings'

_______

..

All persons 16 and over

T o ta l..................................................................

66,828

4,453

1,645

2,808

6,511

14,009

41,855

$18,169

Family income:1
2
Under $5,000 .......................................................
$5,000 to $9,999 .................................................
$10,000 to $14,999 ..............................................
$15,000 to $19,999 ..............................................
$20,000 to $24,999 ..............................................
$25,000 and o v e r................................................

862
2,629
5,789
7,285
7,837
42,426

832
980
635
493
375
1,138

623
204
191
155
99
373

210
776
444
338
276
765

13
1,598
940
928
783
2,249

17
40
4,189
1,735
1,749
6,280

11
25
4,129
4,930
32,759

857
7,368
11,283
15.394
18,200
23,771

Below poverty level:
T otal......................................................................
Percent.................................................................

2,065
3.1

1,359
30.5

746
45.4

612
21.8

442
6.8

249
1.8

15

5,003

Below 1.25 poverty level:
T otal......................................................................
Percent.................................................................

3.418
5.1

1,825
41.0

836
50.8

989
35.2

888
13.6

642
4.6

62
.1

$6,370
-

Below 1.50 poverty level:
T otal......................................................................
Percent.................................................................

5,264
7.9

2,167
48.7

939
57.1

1,228
43.7

1,530
23.5

1,251
8.9

317
.8

$7,386
-

Below 2.00 poverty level:
T otal......................................................................
Percent.................................................................

10,035
15.0

2,660
59.7

1,076
65.4

1,584
56.4

2,899
44.5

2,912
20.8

1,565
3.7

$9,374
-

Median family income............................................. $30,785

$13,072

$9,854

$14,680

$18,766

$23,019

$36,189

-

Stub is repeated for:
Husbands
Wives
Others in married-couple families
Women who maintain families
Others in families maintained by women
Men who maintain families
Others in families maintained by men
All other men
All other women
1 Earnings are defined as all money income from wages, salaries, and profits or losses from self-employment.
2 Personal income for "all other” men and women.

NOTE: Dash represents zero or rounds to zero,
SOURCE: Linking Employment Problems to Economic Status, BLS
Bulletin 2222, March 1985.

47

Chapter 5. Wages of Workers
Covered by Unemployment
Insurance Programs

The Federal Unemployment Compensation Amend­
ments of 1976 incorporated major changes in State ui
laws effective January 1, 1978. Under these amend­
ments, States expanded coverage to include nearly all re­
maining State and local government employees,
employees of nonprofit elementary and secondary
schools, and many agricultural and domestic workers.
Some States began implementing the amendments as
early as 1976. The amendments also brought the Virgin
Islands under the ui system.
It is important for anyone using historical ES-202
data to be aware of all of these changes in coverage.
Large shifts in data from one time period to another
may be the result of coverage changes rather than any
economic phenomena. Some time series analyses using
ES-202 data may not be possible because the data from
the two time periods may not be comparable.

The Employment and Wages program, commonly
called the ES-202 program, is a cooperative endeavor of
b l s and the employment security agencies of the 50
States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the
Virgin Islands. Using quarterly unemployment in­
surance tax reports submitted by employers, the States
summarize employment and wage data by industry and
county for all full- and part-time workers covered by
their State unemployment insurance (ui) laws and for
civilian workers covered by the program of Unemploy­
ment Compensation for Federal Employees (ucfe).
These summaries, known as ES-202 Reports, are ag­
gregated by b l s to provide national data on employ­
ment and wages.
The program is a comprehensive and accurate source
of employment and wage data, by industry, at the na­
tional, State, and county levels. It provides a virtual
census of nonagricultural employees and their wages. In
addition, about 40 percent of workers in agriculture are
covered.

Survey concepts and outputs

Included among the data collected through the
Employment and Wages program are total wages
(quarterly), taxable wages (quarterly), unemployment
insurance contributions (quarterly), employment (mon­
thly), and number of reporting units (quarterly). These
data series are described in the following paragraphs.

Background

The number of workers covered by unemployment in­
surance laws has increased dramatically since 1938 when
the first data on employment and wages of covered
workers were issued. In 1938, Federal law applied only
to firms employing at least eight persons for a minimum
of 20 weeks in a calendar year and excluded such
workers as government employees, agricultural
laborers, and domestic workers in private homes. (Some
State laws did cover firms employing fewer than eight
workers.)
Amendments to the Social Security Act extended
coverage to Federal civilian employees on January 1,
1955, and to workers in firms employing from four to
seven workers on January 1, 1956. Federal legislation,
effective January 1, 1972, extended coverage of State
unemployment insurance systems in 28 States to firms
employing one worker or more and expanded other
statutory coverage provisions. The remaining States had
previously extended coverage to these small employers.
In 1975, legislation also brought coverage to employees
of State hospitals, colleges, and universities.

Total wages. Covered employers in most States report
total compensation paid during the calendar quarter,
regardless of when services are performed. A few State
laws, however, specify that wages be reported or based
on when services are performed rather than when com­
pensation is paid. Under most State laws or regulations,
wages include bonuses, the cash value of meals and
lodging, and tips and other gratuities.
Employer contributions for old-age, survivors,
disability, and health insurance ( o a s d h i ) , unemploy­
ment insurance, workers’ compensation, and private
pension and welfare funds are not reported as wages.
On the other hand, employee contributions for the same
purposes, as well as money withheld for income taxes,
union dues, etc., are reported even though they are
deducted from the worker’s gross pay.
Wages of covered Federal workers represent the gross
48

piece workers, and part-time workers. Proprietors, the
self-employed, unpaid family members, and certain
farm and domestic workers are excluded.
Persons on paid leave, whether it is holiday, sick,
vacation, or other are included. Persons on the payroll
of more than one firm during the period are counted
each time they are reported. Workers are counted even
though, in the latter months of the year, their wages
may not be subject to the unemployment insurance tax.
The employment count excludes workers who earned no
wages during the entire applicable pay period because of
work stoppages, temporary layoffs, illness, or unpaid
vacations.
Employment data reported for Federal civilian
employees are a byproduct of the operations of State
employment security agencies in administering the pro­
visions of Title XV of the Social Security Act, that is,
the program of Unemployment Compensation for
Federal Employees. These data are based on reports of
monthly employment and quarterly wages submitted
each quarter to State agencies for all installations of
Federal agencies having employees covered by the act,
except the Central Intelligence Agency and the National
Security Agency which are omitted for security reasons.
Employment for any given month for all Federal
agencies, except the Department of Defense, is based on
the number of persons on the payroll for the period in­
cluding the 12th of the month. At installations of the
Department of Defense all persons employed on the last
workday of the month are included plus all intermittent
employees, i.e., occasional workers who were employed
at any time during the month.
Under a 1981 Supreme Court ruling, schools
chartered by the various religions are not required to be
covered under the ui system. However, many of these
schools continue to cover their employees on a volun­
tary basis. Those schools that do pay ui taxes are includ­
ed in the ES-202 data. Special provisions for railroad
workers are made through the Railroad Unemployment
Insurance Act. Data reported for the Railroad Retire­
ment Board program are excluded, by definition, from
the ES-202 program.
Over the years, many States have legislated
unemployment insurance protection for additional
categories of workers above the base established
through Federal legislation. Details on State coverage
are provided in Comparison o f State Unemployment In­
surance La.ws, available upon request from the Employ­
ment and Training Administration of the Department
of Labor. State comparisons should take into considera­
tion these differences in coverage. When ui-covered
private industry employment data are compared directly
with other employment series, the industry exclusions
also should be taken into account.

amount of all payrolls for all pay periods ending within
the quarter. This includes cash allowances, the cash
equivalent of any type of remuneration, lump-sum
payments for terminal leave, withholding taxes, and
retirement deductions. Federal employee remuneration
generally covers the same types of services as for
workers in private industry. Depending on the method
(cash or accrual basis) used by the Federal agency in
preparing its quarterly summary balance, the gross
amount of payrolls is either paid or payable.
Taxable wages and ui contributions. Taxable wages are
that part of employees’ annual wages subject to the
State ui tax. State laws establish the levels of taxable
wages, subject to a Federal minimum ($3,000 in 1938
and raised to $4,200 in 1972, $6,000 in 1978, and $7,000
in 1983). State laws vary widely, and an increasing
number of States have raised taxable wage levels well
above the Federal minimum requirement. Taxable
wages are reported quarterly, and normally are highest
in the first and second quarters since ui taxes apply to
first dollars earned each year.
Contributions, the amounts employers pay into the
State ui funds, also are reported quarterly, and largely
consist of the taxes due on taxable wages for the
quarter. The other source of contributions, applicable
only in four States, is employee contributions. These are
unemployment insurance taxes deducted from an
employee’s pay by the employer and paid with the
employer’s contribution to the State agency. Many
States allow employers to reduce their ui tax rates by
making voluntary contributions in addition to the legal
requirements. The States also allow certain nonprofit
organizations and State and local government agencies
the option of paying no ui tax, but instead reimbursing
the ui fund for any ui benefits charged against their ac­
counts. Neither the voluntary employer contributions
permitted by some States nor the payments made by
“ reimbursable status” employers are included in the
contribution totals.
Employment. In general, ui- and uCFE-covered employ­
ment data represent the number of full- and part-time
workers earning wages during the pay period including
the 12th of the month. Employer pay periods vary, but
intervals common to many employers are 7 and 14 days;
other employers pay on a semimonthly or monthly
basis. An employer who pays on more than one basis,
for example, weekly for production employees and
biweekly for office employees, reports the total number
of workers on each type of payroll for the appropriate
period.
Workers are reported in the State where their jobs are
physically located. Covered private industry employ­
ment includes most corporation officials, executives,
supervisory personnel, clerical workers, wage earners,

Reportings units are, for the most part, individual
establishments. An establishment generally is defined as
49

a single physical location at which one, or predominantly
one, type of economic activity is carried on. Most
employers covered under the State ui laws operate only
one place of business. Employers who have
establishments in more than one county, or classifiable
in different industries, are requested to submit a
separate report for each county and industry.
Employers having a total of fewer than 50 employees in
all secondary counties or industries, however, may com­
bine these units with the primary county or industry
report.
In the Federal Government, the equivalent of a report­
ing unit is an “ installation” (a single physical location)
and the equivalent of an employer or firm is the
organization of which the installation is a part, that is,
the department, agency, or instrumentality responsible
for an activity of government. Federal agencies currently
report data separately by installation. This type of
reporting permits the grouping of data by political sub­
divisions below the State level, for example, county,
metropolitan area, etc. However, a few agencies with
offices scattered throughout a State submit statewide
reports, as permitted by ucfe regulations.

States summarize individual establishment data on an
industry and county basis and transmit these data to
bls, which then summarizes the data to derive State and
National totals. In addition, the data may be aggregated
to produce industry data for Metropolitan Statistical
Areas (MSA’s), most Congressional Districts, or any
combination of counties that may be desired. For all
States, county-level data at the 2-digit sic level are
available back to 1975, whereas National and State-level
tabulations at the 3-digit sic level are available back to
1967, and at the 4-digit sic level back to 1978.

Other features

In the ES-202 program, emphasis is placed on the
total wages concept. In addition, however, derived
series are also produced from the employment and wage
data. The derived series are average annual pay and
average weekly wages. Average annual pay is computed
by dividing the total annual payrolls (wages) of
employers by average monthly employment. Average
annual pay only approximates annual earnings because
an individual may not be employed by the same
employer all year or may work for more than one
employer. The average weekly wage figures are com­
puted by dividing the average annual pay by 52, the
number of weeks in a year. The average weekly wage
figures for certain industries should be used with cau­
tion since the relationship of full-time to part-time
workers as well as the seasonal nature of some work can
strongly influence these figures. Industries characterized
by high proportions of part-time workers will show
average weekly wage levels appreciably below the actual
weekly earnings levels of regular full-time employees in
those industries.
The total wages and/or the average annual pay con­
cepts can be examined to note the increases or decreases
that occur over time. However, one should also examine
the number of reporting units and the level of employ­
ment to ensure that these levels are comparable and,
thus, the wage comparison is comparable as well. In­
dustry codes for all employers are reviewed every 3 years
to verify the accuracy of the industrial and geographical
codes assigned to the employer. Only in this manner can
the ES-202 program and other programs that depend on
ES-202 data as a benchmark or a base for sampling keep
abreast of the changes that are occurring in the
economy. (See below, “ Uses and limitations.” )

Industrial classification

State employment security agencies use the Standard
Industrial Classification Manual to classify each report­
ing unit according to its primary activity. States assign a
4-digit industrial code to all new units, and review and
update codes, where necessary, on a 3-year cycle.
Establishments or government installations reporting
more than one activity allocate the proper proportion of
total production, revenue, sales, or payroll costs (depen­
ding on the industry group) to each activity. The State
agency designates the proportionately largest activity as
the primary activity. Occasionally, two or more relative­
ly minor activities may be determined to fall within the
same industry classification and, when combined,
become the primary activity.
In some industries, separate establishments of the
same employer often carry on the same activities, in the
same proportions, and may be combined at the county
level. Sometimes, however, the proportions vary to such
a degree that the units must be classified in separate in­
dustries and separate reports must be filed.
Four-digit sic coding of nonmanufacturing units did
not become mandatory until 1978. A few industry ex­
ceptions still allow 3-digit coding (34 4-digit sic’s are
collapsed into 9 3-digit sic’s). These few exceptions are
coded at the 3-digit level because it is difficult to get
systematic and accurate information sufficient to code
at the 4-digit level.

Survey Methods

Data collection. Approximately 5 million reporting
units in the nonagricultural private sector submit
quarterly reports to State agencies with data on monthly
employment, quarterly total and taxable wages, and ui
contributions. In addition, the 53 State agencies receive
reports from about 41,000 reporting units of the Federal

Geographic coverage

Employment and wage data are collected on an
establishment basis subject to the limitations listed
earlier under the definition of reporting units. The
50

at the national level, data are published at the 4-, 3-, 2-,
and 1-digit industrial level of detail showing the current
year’s data and the year-to-year change for the average
number of reporting units, annual average employment,
total annual wages, and average weekly wages. State
data are only published at the 4-digit level of industrial
detail for the private sector for the current year. These
data include the same data types as above as well as the
annual wage per employee. (See figures 5-1 and 5-2.)
Data are also published separately in limited industry
detail for Federal, State, and local government.
Two news releases are issued each year by bls that
provide annual data from the ES-202 program. The
State-data news release, issued in late August, provides
average annual pay data for the 2 most recent years and
the percent change in pay. For the Nation as a whole
and for each State, data are tabulated by major industry
division for private employers and for total govern­
ment. Also published are rankings of States based on
pay levels and pay changes, and a map which illustrates
the variances in pay changes among the States.
Average annual pay of workers in U.S. metropolitan
areas is the subject of the second news release which is
issued in late September. Average annual pay figures for
all Metropolitan Statistical Areas (msa ’s as defined by
the U.S. Office of Management and Budget) are provided
for the 2 most recent years as well as the percent change
in earnings levels, msa’s are listed alphabetically and are
ranked by level and percent change in pay. Similar in­
formation is published for Consolidated Metropolitan
Statistical Areas (cmsa’s). Both releases include a brief
analysis of the data and a technical note.

Government for their civilian employees under the ucfe
program in each State; they also receive reports covering
nearly 99 percent of State and 96 percent of local
government employees, and about 40 percent of all
farm workers.
State agencies summarize and codify the raw data,
check for missing information and errors, prepare
estimates of data for delinquent reports, edit the data at
the micro and macro levels, machine process the data
onto magnetic tapes, and finally, 5 months following
the end of each quarter, send the tapes to blsWashington. bls, in turn, further summarizes these
county data to derive State and national levels by in­
dustry and publishes the summaries in the annual
Employment and Wages publication. Individual States,
which have a wide range of uses for these data, usually
publish their own ES-202 data.
Estimated data. To reduce the effect of data excluded
because of late reporting by covered private and govern­
ment employers, State agencies estimate employment
and wages for such employers and include the estimates
in each quarterly report. Updates to data, which may be
entered after a report is filed, will include replacement
of estimates with reported data. Estimates are prepared
for the individual reporting unit based on data reported
for the preceding quarter and trends in employment
reported by employers and installations in the same in­
dustry. Information obtained from other sources also is
used. If an account remains delinquent for more than
one quarter but research shows that it is still active, the
reporting unit will be estimated again.

Unpublished data. In addition to the three annual
reports of ES-202 data, bls answers data requests by
providing computer tapes or hard copy of both published
and unpublished data. From 1978, quarterly and annual
data at the national or State level are available at all sic
levels by the five types of o w n e r s h ip : Federal, State,
local, and international governments, and private in­
dustry. Data for the latest quarter are usually available
about 10 months after the close of that quarter. Countylevel data, including tabulations that are aggregated to
metropolitan areas, are provided at the 2-digit SIC level
by ownership on a historical basis from 1975 to 1983.
Since 1984, quarterly data at the 4-digit level by county
are also available. For private industry only, firstquarter data by size-of-reporting unit is provided upon
request. ES-202 reports tabulate reporting units into 10
size categories ranging from zero employees up to 1,000
employees or more. As a matter of policy, requesters
must pay expenses incurred by bls for providing re­
quested data. In addition, because of the bls policy of
confidentiality, bls screens all data to suppress infor­
mation that could reveal the employment and wages of
an individual reporting unit. There are no seasonally ad­
justed ES-202 data.

Reliability. Since the data comprise a universe count of
employees covered by ui, the report is not subject to
sampling variability. There are several potential sources
of error, however, since the industrial activities and
location of employers may change over time and, thus,
the change may not be noted until the next review of
that employer. Also, since estimates are used for delin­
quent accounts, these data may be slightly different
from the actual data reported by employers, once their
reports are received. The States are instructed to replace
all estimates with the employer’s actual data if the data
are received within 60 days of the report’s due date in
Washington. If the 60-day period has expired, actual
data will be substituted for estimated numbers if the
data are found to meet a certain “ significance” test at
the county level. The ES-202 data files at bls are kept
open for updates about 1 year after receipt of a
quarter’s report. Thus, the latest year’s data are con­
sidered preliminary and subject to change.
Presentation of data

Published data. Data are published annually in the bls
bulletin, Employment and Wages. For the private sector
51

come estimates from this source are instrumental in
determining Federal allocation of revenue-sharing funds
to State and local governments. The Health Care Finan­
cing Administration of the Department of Health and
Human Services uses wage indexes based upon ES-202
Employment and Wages data as a component for deter­
mining reimbursable costs in the Medicare program.
eta uses ES-202 data as an element in the process of set­
ting wage rates for alien farm workers who are brought
into the United States on a temporary basis to harvest
agricultural crops.
The ES-202 data are one of the principal sources of
detailed employment and wage statistics used by
business and public and private research organizations.
State governments often use ES-202 data in econometric
models to determine projected income tax revenues.
These data also are frequently provided to private com­
panies for use in economic forecasting.

Uses and limitations

The ui-covered employment and wages data (ES-202
series) are the most complete universe of monthly
employment and quarterly wage information by in­
dustry at the national, State, and county levels. They
have broad economic significance in evaluating labor
market trends and major industry developments, in time
series analyses and industry comparisons, and in special
studies such as analyses of wages by size of employer.
Uses. The program provides data necessary to both the
Employment and Training Administration (eta) of the
U.S. Department of Labor and the State employment
security agencies to administer employment security
programs. These data reflect the extent of coverage of
the State unemployment insurance laws and are used to
measure ui revenues and disbursements; national, State,
and local area employment; and total and taxable wage
trends. ES-202 data are used in actuarial studies of the
unemployment insurance system, and for determining
employer tax rates, maximum unemployment insurance
benefit levels for the unemployed, and areas needing
Federal ui assistance. The data also are used to evaluate
the solvency of State unemployment insurance trust
funds. In addition, ES-202 data are used to compute
State unemployment rates for workers covered by ui
programs as well as national averages of these rates. The
rates, in turn, at specified levels, trigger extended
unemployment insurance benefit programs. The ES-202
data are also used by a variety of bls programs. They
serve, for example, as the basic source of benchmark in­
formation for employment by industry and by size of
unit in the Current Employment Statistics program
(bls-790). (See chapter 3.) The Unemployment In­
surance Address File, developed in conjunction with the
ES-202 report, also serves as a national sampling frame
for Industry Wage Surveys; Area Wage Surveys;
Employment Cost Index; Professional, Administrative,
Technical, and Clerical Pay Survey; Occupational
Employment Statistics; and other establishment-based
programs.
Additionally , the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the
Department of Commerce uses ES-202 data as a base
for developing a large part of the wage and salary com­
ponent of the national income accounts. Personal in­

Limitations. Although coverage has increased over the
years, there are some groups of workers who are still not
covered by unemployment insurance laws. Among these
are 0.5 million agricultural employees, 1.6 million selfemployed farmers, 7.6 million self-employed
nonagricultural workers, 1.2 million domestic workers,
and 0.6 million unpaid family workers. Also excluded
are 0.4 million workers covered by the railroad
unemployment insurance system. In addition, 0.6
million State and local government workers are not
covered by unemployment compensation laws.
In analyzing and comparing ui data geographically
and over time, one must take into account the effects of
Federal coverage changes and the effects of nonuniform
coverage among States. At the industry level, while
most S IC coding since 1978 has been at the 4-digit level,
a few industries are still coded at the 3-digit level. In ad­
dition, average weekly wages in some industries are
strongly influenced by seasonal factors, for which no
adjustments are made, and by the relationship of full­
time to part-time workers.

Michael A. Sear son
Office of Employment and
Unemployment Statistics

52

References
mary o f Employment Security Statistics Reports, U.S. Department

Bunke, Alfred L. “ Quarterly Report o f Employment, Wages, and
Contributions (ES-202),” Selected Papers from North American
Conference on Labor Statistics, 1973. U.S. Department o f Labor,
Bureau o f Labor Statistics, 1973, pp. 132-33.

o f Labor, Manpower Administration, May 1975.
U.S. Department o f Labor, Employment and Training Administra­
tion. Comparison o f State Unemployment Insurance Laws.

Ehrenhalt, Samuel M. “ Some Thoughts on Planning a Comprehen­
sive Employment Statistics Program,” Selected Papers from North
American Conference on Labor Statistics, 1973. U.S. Department
o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics, 1973, pp. 136-38.

Federal Security Agency, Social Security Board, Bureau o f Employ­
ment Security. Employment and Wages o f Covered Workers in
State Unemployment Compensation Systems 1939. August 1941.

United States Code Annotated, Title 26, Internal Revenue Code, Sec­
tions 2501 to 4000, West Publishing Co. 1979, pp.397-98.

Interstate Conference o f Employment Security Agencies, ES-202 Sub­
committee. The ES-202 Needs a New Priority in Federal-State
Cooperation. June, 1971.

U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics. Employment
and Wages Annual Averages 1983, Bulletin 2238, May 1985.

“ Technical Notes on Insured Unemployment, Covered Employment,
and Wage Statistics: Their Source, Nature, and Limitations,” Sum­

53

Figure 5.1
T a b le 2. P rivate industry by 4-dig it SIC industry and g o vern m en t by level o f g o vernm en t, 1983 annual averages: R ep orting
units, em plo ym ent, and w ag es, change from 1982
Annual average
employment

Average
reporting units
Industry/ownership

SIC
code
1983

Change
from
1982

1983

Total annual wages
(in thousands)

Change
from
1982

1983

T o ta l.........................................................

5,018,216

108,587

89,805,881

735,657

Total p riv a te .......................................................

4,835,728

105,257

74,165,016

709,042

1,136,574

$1,570,680,297

Average
weekly wage

Change
from
1982

1983

Change
from
1982

$84,675,137

$336

$16

1,288,464,431

68,936,303

334

15

14,619

115,681

3,841

11,969,162

565,227

203

7

Agricultural production- crops .........................................
Cash g ra in s ........................................................................
W h e a t...............................................................................
Rice ..................................................................................
Corn ..................................................................................
S oybeans.........................................................................
Cash grains, nec ..........................................................
Field crops, except cash g ra in s ..................................
Cotton ...............................................................................
Tobacco ...........................................................................
Sugar c ro p s .....................................................................
Irish p o ta to e s .................................................................
Field crops, except cash grains, nec .....................
Vegetables and melons .................................................
Vegetables and m e lons ..............................................

0100
0110
0111
0112
0115
0116
0119
0130
0131
0132
0133
0134
0139
0160
0161

35,837
3,397
506
523
398
486
1,485
4,210
1,673
240
735
414
1,147
2,980
2,980

541
306
118
36
15
12
126
76
46
-2
-2 3
18
36
33
33

509,117
23,884
3,146
2,898
5,243
4,230
8,367
59,026
18,673
4,489
15,478
5,994
14,392
94,339
94,339

-4,529
132
596
-2 9
-3 5 4
-2 5 7
176
-1 ,88 0
-2,075
-4 0 6
823
-1 4 6
-7 7
-6 6
-6 6

,958,688
261,805
36,978
38,575
64,040
42,679
79,531
622,821
192,851
26,504
198,138
61,221
144,106
919,803
919,803

132,761
4,654
7,501
-7 6 8
-1 4 5
-1 ,97 3
39
8,838
-1 3,433
-3 ,63 0
19,953
1,538
4,411
28,749
28,749

187
211
226
256
235
194
183
203
199
114
246
196
193
188
188

7
3
4
-3
14
3
-4
9
7
-5
12
9
7
6
6

Fruits and tree nuts ........................................................
Berry c ro p s ......................................................................
Grapes .............................................................................
Tree nuts .........................................................................
Citrus fruits ......................................................................
Deciduous tree fruits....................................................
Fruits and tree nuts, n e c ............................................
Horticultural specialties ..................................................
Ornamental nursery products ...................................
Food crops grown under c o v e r................................
Horticultural specialties, n e c .....................................
General farms, primarily crop ......................................
General farms, primarily crop ...................................

0170
0171
0172
0173
0174
0175
0179
0180
0181
0182
0189
0190
0191

13,038
746
3,525
1,530
1,485
2,952
2,798
5,760
5,232
420
108
6,453
6,453

139
88
61
-2 3
2
49
-41
166
169
17
-21
-1 7 9
-1 7 9

151,510
15,727
39,013
9,474
21,066
45,511
20,720
114,775
97,153
16,385
1,237
65,584
65,584

340
683
-5 4 6
-201
571
464
-6 3 0
1,890
394
1,669
-1 7 2
-4,943
-4,943

1,219,842
133,629
312,179
87,640
194,176
331,807
160,411
1,277,968
1,060,922
202,711
14,335
656,450
656,450

51,183
17,019
11,676
1,418
4,986
10,039
6,046
70,362
42,545
29,129
-1,313
-3 1,026
-3 1 ,0 2 6

155
163
154
178
177
140
149
214
210
238
223
192
192

6
14
8
7
0
3
10
8
8
11
9
5
5

Agricultural production-livestock...................................
Livestock, except dairy, poultry, e t c ..........................
Beef cattle feedlots......................................................
Beef cattle, except fe e d lo ts .......................................
Hogs ................................................................................
Sheep and goats ..........................................................
General livestock, nec ............................................
Dairy fa rm s .........................................................................
Dairy fa rm s .....................................................................
Poultry and eggs
..............................................
Broiler, fryer, and roaster chickens ........................
Chicken egqs .................................................................
Turkeys and turkey e g g s ............................................
Poultry hatcheries .......................................................
Poultry and eggs, n e c ..................................................

0200
0210
0211
0212
0213
0214
0219
0240
0241
0250
0251
0252
0253
0254
0259

11,882
4,446
880
2,872
339
232
123
3,607
3,607
1,631
235
664
311
343
79

332
199
17
126
35
10
12
77
77
-1 6
-8
2
5
-1 6
2

130,813
37,468
13,143
18,735
3,412
1,279
899
31,118
31,118
42,715
8.552
17,513
5,221
10,340
1,090

1,105
1,648
922
314
385
8
19
1,079
1,079
-1 ,47 8
-824
-1 4 6
187
-6 8 7

1,562,866
473,505
197,080
208,057
45,515
12,627
10,227
368,368
368,368
488,849
107,576
188,017
62,166
120,571
10,518

60,287
32,802
16,071
8,593
7,465
-2 1 6
889
19,491
19,491
494
-6,428
5,541
3,858
-2,796
320

230
243
288
214
257
190
219
228
228
220
242
206
229
224
186

7
6
4
5
15
-4
15
4
4
8
8
8
6
9
7

Animal specialties ..........................................................
Fur-bearing animals and rabbits...............................
Horses and other e quines..........................................
Animal specialties, n e c ...............................................
General farms, primarily livestock ..............................
General farms, primarily livestock...........................

0270
0271
0272
0279
0290
0291

1,456
111
687
658
743
743

89

591

7
59
24
-1 8
-1 8

13,705
1,178
7,209
5,318
5,807
5,807

77
596
-8 2
-735
-7 3 5

164,611
12,377
84,795
67,440
67,534
67.534

12,950
851
9,401
2,698
-5,450
-5,450

231
202
226
244
224
224

9
1
7
13
9
9

Agricultural services ..........................................................
Soil preparation services...............................................
Soil preparation s ervices............................................
Crop services....................................................................
Crop planting and protection ....................................
Crop harvesting ............................................................
Crop preparation services for m a rk e t.....................
Cotton ginning ...............................................................
General crop services ................................................

0700
0710
0711
0720
0721
0722
0723
0724
0729

61,642
669
669
5,902
2.111
753
1,692
1,227
119

3,138
17
17
71
-2 8
2
18
76
3

462,213
3,126
3,126
73,877
11,332
7,590
43,345
9,944
1,667

18,288
-51
-51
-2,887
-1,156
756
-7 7
-2,229
-180

4,868,731
42,058
42,058
828,690
156,392
81,937
455.306
115,064
19,991

366,340
631
631
-1 4,062
-1 6,968
9,600
24,560
-2 9,826
-1,428

203
259
259
216
265
208
202
223
231

8
8
8
5
-2
4
11
-6
8

Veterinary services .......................................................
Animal services, except veterinary ............................
Livestock services, except specialties....................
Animal specialty s ervices...........................................

0740
0750
0751
0752

15,560
7,044
1,739
5.305

643
273
-6
279

80,645
36,678
12,879
23,799

4,392
1,747
40
1.707

957,345
388,106
158,810
229,297

79,571
36,184
5,832
30,352

228
203
237
185

7
10
8
12

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing ........................

L_

SOURCE: E m p lo y m e n t a n d W a g e s A n n u a l A v e r a g e s 1 9 8 3 ,

-7

___________________

L
—._______________

BLS Bulletin 2238, May 1985.

54

Figure 5.2
T a b le 5. P rivate in dustry by S ta te and 4-digit SIC industry: R ep orting units, em plo ym ent, and w ages, 1983 annual
a v era g es

State

Average
reporting
units

Annual
average
employment

I

Annual
Average
wages
weekly
per
wage
employee

Total annual
wages
(in thousands)

Average
reporting
units

Total annual
wages
(in thousands)

Annual
average
employment

Total private

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
!

$17,373

$334

115,681

1,136,574

$11,969,162

15,585,204
4,272,713
14,388,497
8,525,532
161,235,461

15,328
28,511
16,287
14,278
18,794

295
548
313
275
361

1,290
209
1,891
1,396
32,380

11,539
608
26,484
11,510
389,397

1,079,087
1,256,242
220,242
320,697
3,306,765

19,327,715
23,734,024
4,071,068
6,651,998
50,391,457

17,911
18,893
18,485
20,742
15,239

344
363
355
399
293

1,480
1,321
212
n
7,297

111,983
20,734
22,707
212,539
100,111

1,802,858
325,637
244,131
3,717,194
1,658,409

29,066,152
4,851,189
3,714,338
69,770,237
28,573,769

16,122
14,898
15,215
18,770
17,230

310
286
293
361
331

Iow a...................................
Kansas ...............................
Kentucky............................
Louisiana...........................
M a in e .................................

65,917
63,992
65,241
86,239
29,128

814,199
726,702
903,733
1,220,717
339,526

12,318,403
11,612,842
14,403,235
21,658,999
4,761,593

15,129
15,980
15,937
17,743
14,024

M aryland............................
Massachusetts..................
Michigan ............................
M innesota..........................
Mississippi .........................

81,963
113,274
134,902
96,742
47,064

1,328,221
2,281,991
2,591,941
1,405,677
602,808

21,865,490
39,150,054
51,295,819
23,750,173
8,425,301

Missouri..............................
Montana.............................
N ebraska...........................
Nevada ..............................
New Hampshire................

102,690
23,861
38,218
21,328
24,322

1,578,421
204,174
464,728
342,830
348,102

New Je rs e y .......................
New Mexico ......................
New Y ork...........................
North Carolina...................
North Dakota.....................

155,269
30,867
415,608
115,130
20,361

O h io ...................................
Oklahom a..........................
O regon...............................
Pennsylvania.....................
Puerto Rico .......................

74,165,016

$1,288,464,431

71,698
13,697
60,470
47,418
530,382

1,016,754
149,860
883,425
597,112
8,578,993

C olorado............................
Connecticut .......................
Delaware............................
District of Columbia..........
F lo rida................................

79,466
78,264
11,915
18,166
250,359

G eorgia..............................
H aw aii................................
Id a h o ..................................
Illin o is.................................
Indiana...............................

T o ta l...................................

4,835,728

Alabam a.............................
A la ska ................................
A rizona...............................
Arkansas............................
California............................

Annual
| Average
wages
weekly
per
j wage
employee

$10,531 |

$203

130,633
13,524
270,315
127,240
4,008,326

11,321
22,240
10,207
11,055
10,294

218
428
196
213
198

12,928
10,233
2,162
n
120,570

153,274
118,293
26,190
n
1,124,914

11,856
11,560
12,115
n
9,330

228
222
233
n
179

1,892
402
855
2,725
1,502

19,018
11,472
9,884
20,716
12,523

199,965
167,741
99,704
266,129
140,971

10,515
14,622
10,087
12,847
11,257

202
281
194
247
216

291
307
306
341
270

1,417
1,162
1,020
1,954
533

7,472
7,558
9,138
12,302
4,225

91,386
98,700
109,255
140,213
44,648

12,230
13,059
11,956
11,397
10,567

235
251
230
219
203

16,462
17,156
19,791
16,896
13,977

317
330
381
325
269

1,388
1,928
2,154
1,862
1,483

11,716
15,100
20,295
12,905
13,351

128,057
216,928
216,307
147,828
124,580

10,930
14,366
10,658
11,455
9,331

210
276
205
220
179

26,519,601
2,998,608
6,747,626
5,694,941
5,372,933

16,801
14,687
14,520
16,612
15,435

323
282
279
319
297

1,743
492
870
380
339

11,091
2,754
5,988
2,618
2,032

118,300
29,769
78,018
35,910
23,617

10,666
10,811
13,030
13,717
11,624

205
208
251
264
224

2,601,114
351,994
5,980,849
1,985,206
183,478

48,757,501
5,387,560
117,417,868
29,039,914
2,727,396

18,745
15,306
19,632
14,628
14,865

360
294
378
281
286

2,914
627
5,160
1,913
633

18,439
6,878
31,310
18,959
2,218

207,271
66,421
373,886
185,127
25,177

11,241
9,657
11,941
9,765
11,352

216
186
230
188
218

204,685
63,033
64,209
213,473
31,036

3,352,187
895,545
761,955
3,753,123
432,063

60,338,793
15,536,147
12,516,518
63,655,022
4,434,501

18,000
17,348
16,427
16,961
10,264

346
334
316
326
197

3,247
899
2,256
3,155
3,753

21,444
6,823
21,743
28,132
19,424

254,523
79,328
213,337
311,760
67,299

11,869
11,626
9,812
11,082
3,465

228
224
189
213
67

Rhode Island.....................
South C arolina..................
South D akota....................
Tennessee .........................
Texas .................................

25,165
60,267
19,951
80,346
306,118

336,490
943,665
172,270
1,392,223
5,077,600

4,979,285
13,670,165
2,207,240
21,441,571
92,955,274

14,798
14,486
12,813
15,401
18,307

285
279
246
296
352

610
1,031
324
1,118
5,931

2,587
10,303
1,590
8,969 '
62,549 |

35,346
104,566
18,857
88,534
687,122

13,662
10,149
11,863
9,871
10,985

263
195
228
190
211

U tah....................................
Vermont .............................
V irginia...............................
Virgin Islands.....................
Washington .......................

33,352
15,125
98,614
2,535
102,019

418,615
165,557
1,665,628
22,632
1,251,569

6,786,791
2,402,519
26,411,460
303,833
22,069,284

16,212
14,512
15,857
13,425
17,633

312
279
305
258
339

365
246
1,564
n
4,027

2,710
1,642
13,441
n
41,348

28,172 I 10,396
17,784
10,831
141,626 i 10,537
n
n
397,203 | 9,606

200
208
203
n
185

West Virginia.....................
W isconsin..........................
W yom ing............................

34,983
102,988
15,808

437,835
1,523,754
148,488

7,548,830
24,501,032
2,640,957

17,241
16,079
17,786

332
309
342

313
1,706
261

SOURCE: Employment and Wages Annual Averages 1983, BLS Bulletin
2238, May 1985.

55

i

I
I

|
|
|
i

2,512
13,774
1,936

i

i

|
i

22,271 i
170,286
20,063

8,867
12,363
10,365

i

171
238
199

Chapter 6. Income and Earnings
Data from the Consumer
Expenditure Survey

Consumer expenditure surveys are specialized studies
in which the primary emphasis is on collecting data
relating to consumer unit expenditures for goods and
services.1 The surveys also collect information on the
amounts and sources of family income, changes in
assets and liabilities, and demographic and
socioeconomic characteristics of the consumer unit.
Users are thus able to relate expenditures to information
about consumer unit characteristics and income.
Background

The Bureau’s studies of consumer living costs rank
among its oldest data-collecting functions. Surveys of
expenditures, income, and savings have been conducted
periodically since the first survey in the late 19th cen­
tury. They have been the most comprehensive sources of
detailed information on expenditures, income, and
changes in assets and liabilities related to the
socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of con­
sumer units in the United States. Results from the
surveys have provided the information necessary to
revise the Consumer Price Index market baskets of
goods and services.
The current Consumer Expenditure Survey ( c e )
began in 1980 and is the first since 1972-73. As in
1972-73, data collection was carried out by the Bureau
of the Census under contract to the b l s . Whereas past
surveys were conducted about every 10 years, the cur­
rent survey is ongoing. It had been apparent for some
time that there was a need for more timely data than
could be supplied by surveys conducted at 10-year inter­
vals. The rapidly changing economic conditions of the
1970’s highlighted this need.
Description of the survey

The ongoing Consumer Expenditure Survey covers
1 A consumer unit is defined as: (1) all members o f a particular
household who are related by blood, marriage, adoption or other legal
arrangements; or (2) a person living alone or sharing a household with
others or living as a roomer in a private home or lodging house or in
permanent living quarters in a hotel or motel, but who is financially
independent; or (3) two or more persons living together who pool their
income to make joint expenditure decisions.

56

the urban portion of the civilian noninstitutional
population. Like the 1972-73 survey, it consists of two
separate components, each with its own questionnaire
and sample: 1) a Quarterly Interview survey in which
each of the sampled consumer units reports information
to an interviewer every 3 months for five consecutive
quarters, and 2) a Diary survey in which consumer units
are asked to complete a diary of expenses for two con­
secutive 1-week periods. The Interview survey is design­
ed to obtain data on expenditures and income that
respondents can be expected to recall for a period of 3
months or longer, such as property or automobile pur­
chase, and those that occur on a regular basis, such as
rent, utility bills, or insurance premiums. The Diary
survey obtains data on frequently purchased items, such
as food and beverages, housekeeping supplies, etc., that
respondents are less likely to be able to recall over long
periods of time.
Data on the total money income from all sources
earned by consumer unit members 14 years old and over
are collected in both the Diary and Interview surveys. In
the 1972-73 survey, there were differences between the
Diary and Interview in the collection of income detail,
but in the current survey the coverage is the same. For
both surveys, respondents are asked the amount of in­
come received from all sources for the 12 months prior
to the interview. Individual consumer unit members are
asked the amounts of income received from wages and
salaries, self-employment income, Social Security and
Railroad Retirement, and Supplemental Security in­
come. Additionally, information on income from all
other sources including worker’s compensation, interest
income, rental income, contributions, etc., is asked of
the consumer unit as a whole. Income detail collected in
both surveys is shown in exhibit 6.1. “ Money income
before taxes” is defined as the total money receipts in
the 12 months prior to the interview dates. The com­
ponents of “ money income before taxes,” also shown
in exhibit 6.1, however, do not include lump-sum
payments from Social Security, refunds from insurance
policies, or refunds from property taxes. These items
are included in the addenda as “ Other money receipts.”

establishes an address sample of 6,800 households that
are requested to participate annually in the Diary
survey. This results in an effective annual sample size of
4,800, since many interviews are not completed due to
refusals, vacancies, or the nonexistence of the
household address. The interviews are spaced over the
year. For the Interview survey, approximately 8,400 ad­
dresses are contacted in each of five calendar quarters.
Allowing for bounding interviews, which are not includ­
ed in estimates, and for nonresponse (including vacan­
cies), the number of completed interviews per quarter is
targeted at 4,800.2 Each month, one-fifth of the units
interviewed are new to the survey. This panel—and all
others—is interviewed for five consecutive quarters and
then dropped from the survey. This rotation of panels,
used by the Bureau of the Census in several other continu­
ing surveys, has the advantage of operational efficiency.

Exhibit 6.1. Consumer Expenditure Survey— Level of income
detail collected1

Sources of income and personal taxes
Money income before taxes
Wages and salaries
Self-employment income
Net business income
Net farm income
Social Security, private and government retirement
Social Security
Railraod retirement
Pensions and annuities
Dividends, interest, rental and other property income
Dividends, royalties, estates, and trusts
Interest from savings accounts or bonds
Roomer and boarder income
Other rental income
Income from all other sources
Supplemental Security Income
Worker’s compensation
Unemployment compensation
Veteran’s payments
Public assistance or welfare
Alimony and child support
Other income
Food stamps
Meals as pay
Rent as pay
Personal taxes paid
Federal income taxes
State and local taxes
Personal property and other taxes

Processing the data

Upon receipt of the data from the Bureau of the Cen­
sus, b l s conducts an extensive review to ensure that
severe aberrations in the data are corrected. The review
takes place in several stages: A review of counts and ex­
penditure and income averages; a review to assure con­
sistency in the coding of consumer unit relationships; a
selective review of extreme values (both high and low)
for expenditure and income categories; and a verifica­
tion of the various data transformations performed by
b l s . Cases of questionable data values or relationships
are investigated by examining questionnaires on
microfilm. Errors discerned through these procedures
are corrected prior to release of the data for public use.
Three major types of data adjustment routines—im­
putation, allocation, and time adjustment—are con­
ducted to improve expenditure estimates derived from
the survey. Data imputation routines account for miss­
ing or invalid entries and affect all fields in the data base
except income and assets.
Since income is not imputed, respondents who fail to
report income are separated from those who do report
income in classifying consumer units by income.
Respondents are classified as either complete or in­
complete income reporters. The distinction between the
two types of reporters is based, in general, on whether the
respondent provides values for major sources of income
such as wages and salaries, self-employment, and Social
Security. Even complete income reporters may not provide
a full accounting of all income from all sources. Acrossthe-board zero income reporting is designated as in-

Addenda
Other money receipts

In the Diary survey, questions on income from all
sources are asked at the end of the second week of the
respondent’s participation. In the Interview survey,
respondents are asked income questions twice—in the
second and fifth interviews. Asset and liability questions
are also asked in the fifth interview. Information on
assets and liabilities is not collected in the Diary survey.
In addition to the income and expenditure data col­
lected from each consumer unit, work experience and
the occupations of the consumer unit members are
reported. Occupational data are available on public use
computer tapes. A more detailed breakdown of occupa­
tional codes is provided on the Interview tape than on
the Diary tape. Information about the public use tapes,
including tape documentation, is available from b l s .
Survey methods and sample design

The samples for the ongoing Consumer Expenditure
Surveys are national probability samples of households
designed to be representative of the urban U.S. civilian
noninstitutional population. The Bureau of the Census

2 Bounding refers to the initial interview in which information is col­
lected on demographic and consumer unit characteristics and on the
inventory o f major durable goods o f each consumer unit. Expenditure
information is also collected in this interview, using a 1-month recall,
but is used, along with the inventory information, solely for hounding
purposes; that is, to classify the unit for analysis and to prevent
duplicate reporting o f expenditures in subsquent interviews.

1 The level o f detail in publications may vary from the level o f collection
depending on the reliability o f the detail.

57

data are currently published is by region—Northeast,
Midwest, South, and West—but in the future the
estimates may be published for large Metropolitan
Statistical Areas.
The public use tapes contain the actual expenditure
and income reports of each consumer unit, but prevent
identification of the unit, even indirectly, by eliminating
selected geographic detail.

valid, and the consumer unit is categorized as an in­
complete reporter.
Reliability of the data

Sample surveys are subject to two types of errors,
nonsampling and sampling. Nonsampling errors can be
attributed to many sources, such as definitional dif­
ficulties, differences in the interpretation of questions,
inability or unwillingness of the respondent to provide
correct information, mistakes in recording or coding the
data obtained, interviewer variability, and other errors
of collection, response, processing, coverage, and
estimation for missing data.
In any sample survey, variations (or errors) in the
data can occur by chance because a sample rather than a
census of the population is taken. The measure of this
variation is called the standard error. Standard error
tables applicable to published c e data can be obtained
from the Bureau’s Division of Consumer Expenditure
Surveys.

Uses of the survey

As the only nationwide study that links the levels of
consumer unit income to patterns of consumer expen­
ditures and savings, the survey data allow users to
classify expenditures by income alone or in conjunction
with other socioeconomic and dem ographic
characteristics of the consumer unit. The survey data
are of value to government and private agencies in­
terested in studying the welfare of particular segments
of the population, such as the aged, low-income con­
sumers, urban, and those receiving food stamps. The
Internal Revenue Service has used the data as the basis
for revising the average State sales tax tables which tax­
payers may use in filing Federal income tax returns. The
survey data are used by economic policymakers in­
terested in the effects of policy changes on expenditure
levels of diverse socioeconomic groups. Economists and
market researchers find them valuable in analyzing con­
sumer demand for groups of goods and services. The
Department of Commerce uses the survey data as a
source of information for revising its benchmark
estimates of some of the personal consumption expen­
diture components of the gross national product.
As in the past, the revision of the Consumer Price In­
dex remains a major reason for undertaking such an ex­
tensive survey. The results of the CE are used to select
new market baskets of goods and services for the index,
to determine the relative importance of the items
selected, and to derive new cost weights for the baskets.
Several years of data from both the Diary and Interview
surveys are required to construct the complete picture of
consumer spending needed to update the market baskets
for the Consumer Price Index.

Major

b l s products
Information from the ongoing c e is available in
several b l s publications. The earliest source of data is
the c e press release. Considerably more detail is subse­
quently published in the Bureau’s bulletins, reports, and
analytical papers, and is also on public use tapes. (See
“ References” at the end of this chapter.) b l s publica­
tions may be obtained through the b l s Chicago regional
office or from the Government Printing Office. Infor­
mation on public use tapes can be obtained from the
Bureau’s Division of Consumer Expenditure Surveys.
Publications generally include tabulations of average
expenditures and income arrayed by consumer unit
characteristics, one of the most important of which is
income class. The income classes are defined both by
dollar classes and by percentile groups. Figure 6-1,
which is based on data collected in the 1980-81 Inter­
view survey, shows consumer unit characteristics, ex­
penditures, and sources of income, classified by quin­
tiles of before-tax income. For each time period
represented in the tables, complete income reporters are
ranked in ascending order according to the level of total
before-tax income reported by the consumer unit. The
ranking is then divided into five equal groups. In­
complete income reporters are not ranked and are
shown separately.
Data collected in the 1980-81 Diary surveys were
published in 1983 and Interview survey data in those
years were published in 1985. Data are shown at a
relatively aggregated level due to the small sample size
of the ongoing survey. As the survey continues and
more data become available, however, estimates for
several years may be combined to provide greater in­
come detail and additional classification of consumer
units. For example, the geographic level at which the

Comparison with other series

Data from the 1980-83 survey can be compared with
data from earlier c e surveys only after adjustments are
made to the data to account for differences in concepts
and definitions between the surveys. The most impor­
tant differences between the previously published
1972-73 data and the current survey data are:
• The population is limited to the urban population in
1980-83, whereas the urban and rural population
were covered in 1972-73. Beginning with collection
of data for 1984, the rural population will be covered
in the ongoing survey.
58

Bureau of the Census publishes family income informa­
tion from the Current Population Survey ( c p s )3, and the
Bureau of Economic Analysis ( b e a ) publishes aggregate
family income data in the National Income and Product
Accounts ( n i p A ). While there are similarities among the
three studies, differences do exist. First, the population
coverage of the c p s is somewhat broader than that of
the Consumer Expenditure Survey, as the CPS includes
military personnel living on-post with their families. Sec­
ond, income estimates in the c p s are shown for
households, families, and persons whereas the c e esti­
mates are for consumer units. While the income items
reported are similar for both the c e and the CPS, the
Census Bureau imputes missing income items in the CPS
while the b l s performs no imputation on income items.
There are also differences in CE income estimates and
personal income as defined in the n i p a . The n i p a
estimates are shown as aggregates for all persons, while
the CE estimates are averages for consumer units. The
population coverage of n i p a is broader since it includes
inmates of institutions and military personnel overseas
and on-post in the U.S. There are different data sources
for each series as well, c e data are collected directly
from survey households; b e a data are estimated
primarily from information provided by business and
government sources. The coverage of income items also
differs. For example, personal contributions for social
insurance are excluded from personal income in the Na­
tional Accounts. Other exclusions from b e a ’ s income
component are income received in the form of alimony,
separate maintenance payments, and contributions for
support. All of these are included in the b l s definition
of income for the recipient household.

• Students living in college- or university-regulated
housing report their own expenditures separately in
the current survey, rather than as part of their
parents’ households as in 1972-73.
• Only income data for complete reporters are shown
in the 1980-81 tables. The average income for com­
plete reporters is an approximation of average in­
come for all respondents. In 1972-73, average in­
come data were published for all respondents, com­
plete and incomplete.
• Consumer units that responded to the income ques­
tions, but reported zero income, are considered to be
incomplete income reporters in 1980-81, while in
1972-73, zero responses were considered valid.
• In 1980-81, ‘Total expenditures’ include total con­
sumption, as defined in 1972-73, plus outlays for
personal insurance, retirement and pension payments
(including Social Security), and gifts and contribu­
tions.
• Gifts of goods are now included with the appropriate
component. For example, apparel gifts are included
with apparel expenditures. In 1972-73, gifts were
shown separately.
• In 1980-81, expenditures while on trips, including
those for food, lodging, gasoline, and other
transportation, are included with the appropriate
component rather than with recreation, as was done
in 1972-73.
A detailed concordance between the surveys, as well
as a comparison of the data, is shown in appendix C of
b l s Bulletin 2225, Consumer Expenditure Survey, Inter­
view Survey, 1980-81.

John M. Rogers
Office of Prices and
Living Conditions

T w o other m ajor in com e studies are published by

3 See chapter 4, “ Earnings statistics from the Current Population
Survey,” for a complete discussion o f this survey.

agencies of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The

References
U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics. BLS Hand­
book o f Methods. Bulletin 2134-1, December 1982.

U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics. Consumer Ex­

penditure Survey: Integrated Diary and Interview Survey Data,
1972-73, Bulletin 1992, 1978.

U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics. Consumer Ex­
penditure Survey: Diary Survey, 1980-81, Bulletin 2173, September
1983.

U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics. Consumer Ex­
penditure Survey: Interview Survey, 1972-73, Bulletin 1997, 1978.

U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics. Consumer Ex­
penditure Survey: Interview Survey, 1980-81, Bulletin 2225, April
1985.

U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics. Consumer Ex­
penditure Survey: Diary Survey, July 1972-June 1974, Bulletin
1959,1977.

59

Figure 6.1
Table 1. Average annual expenditures of urban consumer units classified by QUINTILES OF INCOME BEFORE TAXES,
Interview Survey, 1980-81
Complete reporting of income
Item

Number of CU’s (in thousands)
CONSUMER UNIT CHARACTERISTICS
Size of consumer un it................................
Age of householder
Number in consumer unit:
Earners...................................................
V ehicles.................................................
Children under 18 ................................
Persons 65 and over
Percent homeowner
TOTAL EXPENDITURES
Food
Alcoholic beverages
Housing .....................................................
S h e lte r...................................................
Owned dw ellings..............................
Rented dwellings ..............................
Other lodging....................................
Fuels, utilities and public services . .
Household operations .........................
Housefurnishings and equipment........
Apparel and services................................
Transportation...........................................
Vehicles.................................................
Gasoline and motor o i l ..........................
Other vehicle expenses.......................
Public transportation ............................
Health ca re .................................................
Other expenditures....................................
SOURCES OF INCOME1
Money income before taxes...................
Wages and sa la rie s ..............................
Self-employment incom e.....................
Social security, private and
government retirement.......................
Interest, dividends, rental income,
other property in co m e.......................
Unemployment and workers’ compensation, and veterans’ benefits ...........
Public assistance, supplemental
security income and foods stamps .
Regular contributions for support........
Other incom e........................................
ADDENDA
Other money receipts................................

All
consumer
units

Total
complete
reporting

Lowest
20%

Second
20%

Third
20%

Fourth
20%

Highest
20%

Incomplete
reporting
of income

68,295

57,337

11,426

11,480

11,456

11,475

11,501

10,958

2.7
46.2

2.7
45.3

1.8
51.8

2.3
46.4

2.7
42.3

3.2
41.4

3.4
44.6

2.6
51.1

1.4
1.9
.7
.3
61

1.4
1.9
.8
.3
60

.6
.7
.4
.5
36

1.0
1.4
.6
.4
46

1.5
1.9
.8
.2
57

1.8
2.4
1.0
.1
74

2.2
2.9
1.0
.1
88

1.3
1.7
.6
.4
67

$17,144
3,224
280
5,051
2,816
1„655
913
248
1,263
260
711
935
3,454
1,174
1,175
880
225
746
3,455

$17,301
3,201
284
5,016
2,797
1,627
933
237
1,246
257
716
941
3,486
1,174
1,197
897
218
729
3,644

$7,852
1,820
129
2,682
1,526
501
926
99
739
155
261
396
1,251
379
453
291
128
476
1,097

$11,570
2,452
221
3,605
2,002
727
1,173
102
995
211
398
569
2,278
697
857
568
156
595
1,849

$15,736
3,028
281
4,448
2,457
1,180
1,130
147
1,210
165
616
810
3,377
1,078
1,235
883
181
700
3,091

$20,714
3,737
329
5,810
3,233
2,154
826
253
1,466
250
860
1,075
4,461
1,593
1,543
1,145
179
807
4,496

$30,563
4,959
460
8,516
4,757
3,564
610
584
1,814
500
1,445
1,851
6,050
2,117
1,893
1,594
446
1,066
7,660

$16,324
3,346
256
5,234
2,917
1,802
811
304
1,355
280
683
902
3,282
1,172
1,061
790
260
836
2,469

19,989
15,914
969

19,989
15,914
969

3,473
1,251
-314

9,791
5,817
280

16,809
13,088
591

25,128
21,950
867

44,616
37,355
3,408

1,736

1,736

1,590

2,440

1,940

1,196

1,511

708

708

140

392

527

634

1,841

218

218

102

230

311

271

178

230
149
64

230
149
64

547
107
48

395
176
61

128
154
70

45
115
49

38
192
94

-

251

251

107

236

192

310

410

-

-

—

-

-

SOURCE: Consumer Expenditure Survey: Interview Survey, 1980-81,
table 1, Bulletin 2225 (1985).

1 1ncome values are derived from "complete income reporters" only.

60

Chapter 7. The Employment
Cost Index

The Employment Cost Index ( e c i ) is the Bureau’s
most comprehensive measure o f change in employers’
costs for em ployee com pensation. The major
distinguishing features o f the e c i are the following:

Description of the survey
The survey measures changes in the price o f labor
defined as the rate o f compensation per employee hour
worked. Emphasis on the rate, rather than on average
hourly earnings, distinguishes the price index nature o f
the e c i from other b l s series. Self-employed, ownermanagers, and unpaid family workers are excluded
from coverage.
The e c i is a Laspeyres, fixed-weight index. The
employment weights are held fixed at the industry/occupation level, thus eliminating the effects o f employ­
ment shifts among occupations and industries with dif­
ferent wage and compensation levels; they are derived
from the occupational employment counts for in­
dustries reported in the 1970 Census o f Population. (In
mid-1986 the weights will be revised to reflect the results
o f the 1980 census.)
Indexes for union status and location categories are
not standard Laspeyres indexes because it was not possi­
ble to include their employment counts in the basic sam­
ple design.2 Employment weights for these series are
reallocated each quarter depending on the current
distribution o f employment within the e c i sample, giv­
ing these special indexes many o f the properties of
Laspeyres chain indexes.
The e c i is a sample survey. Establishments in the
sample are selected for each industry with probability
proportional to employment. Within each establish­
ment, individual jobs to represent each Census occupa­
tional group are selected from a list o f all jobs in the oc­
cupational group with probability o f selection propor­
tional to the establishment's employment in the job.
Data are collected for the selected jobs each quarter for
as long as the establishment remains in the sample.
Comparing the employment cost over time o f a selected
job within an occupational group within an establish­
ment eliminates the effects o f employment shifts be­
tween jobs within an occupational group or between
establishments within an industry.
Establishments are kept in the sample about 4 years,
then routinely replaced. This procedure reduces the
burden on individual responding establishments and
ensures that the establishment sample is represen-

1. It includes employers’ costs for employee benefits
as well as wages and salaries;
2. All employees in the private nonfarm sector and in
State and local governments are included in the in­
dex’s coverage;
3. It measures change in compensation rates and is
not affected by employment shifts among jobs
and industries with different levels of compensa­
tion; and
4. The e c i provides subseries by industry, occupa­
tion, and ownership (that is, public or private)
that are consistent with the aggregate series.
Subseries by union status and region are also
published.
These features are required for many kinds o f
analysis concerned with changes in the cost o f labor as a
factor o f production.1 Other Bureau series have some o f
these elements, but no other series has all o f the required
characteristics.

Background
The e c i , a relatively new series, was developed in the
early 1970’s when policymakers and analysts required a
conceptually sound measure o f the changes in labor
costs to analyze the inflationary process and to for­
mulate and monitor economic policy.
It was implemented in stages. The initial publication
o f data in 1976 covered quarterly changes in wages and
salaries for the private nonfarm economy. Expansions
o f the index occurred in 1980 when employer payments
for employee benefits were added, and in 1981 when
establishments from State and local government were
included. The series now covers compensation for the
civilian nonfarm economy, excluding private household
workers and employees o f the Federal Government.
1 For a discussion o f the economic basis o f a measure o f labor cost
such as the ECI, see Jack E. Triplett, “ Introduction: An Essay on
Labor Cost,” in Jack E. Triplett, ed., The Measurement o f Labor
Cost (Chicago, University o f Chicago Press for the National Bureau
o f Economic Research, 1983), pp. 1-60.

2 For a more detailed examination o f the ECI sample design, see G.
Donald'-Wood, Jr., “ Estimation Procedures for the Employment Cost
Index,” Monthly Labor Review, May 1982, pp. 40-42.

61

basis. The reference period for the data collection is the
pay period which includes the 12th of the months o f
March, June, September, and December.

tative o f the universe it is designed to cover.
Data are collected for 12,000 jobs in about 2,200
establishments in the private nonfarm economy and for
3,600 jobs in about 700 establishments in State and local
governments.

Presentation
e c i statistics are regularly published for the reference
months o f March, June, September, and December.
The data are presented in index number form with June
1981 as the base and as 3- and 12-month percent
changes. The statistics appear quarterly in a news
release in the month following the reference month.
Published series as o f September 1985, are shown below.
Over time, the number o f series published will expand,
especially in the service-producing sectors o f the
economy. For example, in 1985 publication began
for wage and salary and compensation cost changes in
health services in the private sector, in State and local
governments, and in the two combined, and for
transportation separately for the private sector.
Tables from the news release (see figures 7-1 through
7-5) appear in the monthly b l s publication Current
Wage Developments ( c w d ) . A complete historical
listing appears each year in the May issue of c w d .
Tables covering the previous nine quarters o f data for
all series appear in the Monthly Labor Review.

Data collection
Initial data collection is carried out by personal visits
to selected establishments by b l s economists. The first
task is to select (with probability of selection propor­
tional to employment size) the individual jobs for which
data are to be collected.
Wage and benefit information is then collected for
each o f the selected jobs. Wages are expressed as an
hourly rate, even for workers paid on some other basis,
such as salaried employees or employees paid under an
incentive wage system. Straight-time wage and salary
rates, the wage measure, are total earnings before
payroll deductions, excluding premium pay for over­
time, weekend, holiday, and late shift work. Production
bonuses, incentive earnings, commission payments, and
cost-of-living adjustments are included in straight-time
wage and salary rates.
Data are collected on 23 separate benefits. The
benefits include:
Paid leave—Paid vacations, holidays, sick leave, and
other paid leave;
Supplemental pay —Premium pay for overtime and
work on weekends and holidays, shift differentials,
and nonproduction bonuses;
Insurance benefits—Life, health, and sickness and
accident insurance;
Retirement and savings benefits—Pension and other
retirement plans and savings and thrift plans;
Legally required benefits—Social Security, railroad
retirement and supplemental retirement, railroad
unemployment insurance, Federal and State
unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation,
and other legally required benefits such as State
temporary disability insurance; and

Comparisons with other series
The e c i measures the change in compensation over
time, but does not estimate wage or compensation
levels. Most o f the other series discussed in this bulletin
measure the level and structure o f wages or earnings as
of a specific date. Therefore, in most cases the e c i and
other series are complementary, with the other series
describing the structure at a point in time and the e c i
describing how the structure changes over time.
Changes calculated from the levels differ, o f course,
from the change in the e c i , for a number o f reasons.
The most important is the changes in the averages are
affected by employment shifts between industries and
occupations with different pay levels. There are two
other differences, depending on the series. Average
Hourly Earnings ( a h e ) (see chapter 3), for instance, ex­
cludes some workers—white-collar workers in manufac­
turing, mining, and construction, and supervisory
workers in the rest o f the private nonfarm economy.
Both the a h e and Median Weekly Earnings ( m w e ) (see
chapter 4) exclude nonwage costs.
The Compensation Per Hour series ( c p h ) prepared by
the Bureau's Office o f Productivity and Technology
(see chapter 8) differs from the e c i in a number o f ways,
but the most important is that the c p h is a measure o f
the change in average compensation rather than the
change in the compensation rate for a fixed set o f jobs.
Like the a h e and m w e series, the c p h is affected by
employment shifts between industries and occupations
with different compensation levels.

Other benefits— Severance pay, supplemental
unemployment benefit plans, and merchandise dis­
counts in department stores.
Excluded from both wages and salaries and employee
benefits are such items as payments in kind, free room
and board, and tips.
The benefit data collected for each surveyed job in­
clude information on benefit practices, employer expen­
ditures, and workweeks. This information is used to
calculate the employer’s cost in cents per hour worked
and is added to the hourly wage rate to obtain total
compensation cost per hour worked for each job.
After the initial data are collected, the establishments
are mailed forms containing the information that they
provided on wage and benefit provisions and costs, and
are asked to update this information on a quarterly
62

ECI Series Published as of September 1985
Series

Wages and
salaries

Compen­
sation'

All civilian workers2 ........................
Whitfi-rnllar workers
Blue-collar workers
Service Workers
Goods-producing industries3......
Manufacturing........................
Service-producing industries4....
Services.................................
Health services
Public administration5
Nonmanufacturing.....................

*
*
*
*
*
*
★
★
*
*
*

*
*
*
*
*
★
★
*
*
*
*

Private industry workers8 ...............
White-collar workers..................
Professional and technical
workers................................
Managers and administrators.
Sales workers.........................
Clerical workers.....................

★
*

★
*

Blue-collar workers....................
Craft and kindred workers......
Operatives, except transport..
Transport operatives..............
Nonfarm laborers...................

*
*
*
*
*

*

Service workers.........................

*

*

Goods-producing industries3......
Construction...........................
Manufacturing........................
Durable goods....................
Nondurable goods..............
Service-producing industries4....
Transportation and public
utilities..................................
Transportation....................
Public utilities.....................
Wholesale and retail trade.....
Wholesale trade.................
Retail trade.........................

Series
Finance, insurance, and real
estate................................
Service industries................
Health services...............
Union workers.........................
Goods-producing industries3
Service-producing
industries4..........................
Manufacturing.....................
Nonmanufacturing..............
Nonunion workers...................
Goods-producing industries3
Service-producing
industries4...............
Manufacturing.....................
Nonmanufacturing..............

*
★
*
★

Wages and
salaries

Compen­
sation’

*
*
*

*
*
*

*
*

★
★

*
*
★

*
*
*

*
*

*
*

*
*
★

*
*
*

Northeast................................
South.......................................
Midwest (formerly North
Central)..................................
W est........................................
Metropolitan areas..................
Other areas.............................

★
*
*

*
*
*
*

*
*
*
*

*
*
*

*
*
*

*
*

*
*

*

*

Service industries....................
Schools................................
Elementary and
secondary......................
Hospitals and other
services7............................
Health services...............
Public administration5..............

*

★
*
*
*
*
*

*
*

State and local government
workers......................................
White-collar workers...............
Blue-collar workers.................

*

*
*

*
*
*
*

1Compensation cost per hour worked includes wages, salaries, and
employer costs for employee benefits.
2 Includes private industry and State and local government workers; ex­
cludes farm, household, and Federal Government workers.
* Includes mining, construction, and manufacturing.

*
★

4 Includes transportation, public utilities, trade, finance, insurance, real
estate, services, and, where applicable, public administration.
5 Consists of legislative, judicial, administrative, and regulatory activities.
* Excludes farm and household workers.
7 1ncludes, for example, library, social, and health services.

63

data are available for most o f the other series discussed.
The e c i is based on data collected from a sample o f
establishments. Had another sample been selected, a
different estimate would result. The variation in the
estimates between different samples is called sampling
variation. Sample variation falls as the sample size in­
creases. Thus, the magnitude o f sample variation can be
controlled by changing the sample size. The sample
variation for the e c i currently is being estimated and
will be available in 1987.
The e c i also is subject to measurement errors. Data
from all units in the sample may not be collected, or
establishments may be unwilling or unable to provide
the necessary data. Errors may also occur in reporting,
recording, or processing the data. Measurement errors
are controlled in a variey o f ways including maintaining
a professional and highly trained collection staff,
careful review o f collected data, and comprehensive
computer edits.

Uses end limitations
The e c i is used in analysis o f the inflationary process,
and the changing structure o f wages and compensation.
Because the e c i is constructed in such a way as to pro­
vide data for subseries—by industry, occupation, union
status, and region3—that are defined to be consistent
with the aggregate series, it is possible to identify the
source o f wage and compensation change pressures.
Although the e c i was developed for economic
analysis and the formation and evaluation o f public
policy, it is used for administrative purposes as well. Its
clear definitions and firm foundation in economic
theory make it an attractive series to use for such pur­
poses as escalating the labor portion o f long-term con­
tracts and adjusting wage and compensation rates be­
tween labor negotiations.
The e c i is based on a limited sample and, although a ll.
workers are represented, only aggregate subseries can be
published. This places limits on the type o f analysis that
can be carried out on the changing structure o f wages.
Although the e c i program does not publish levels, levels

Richard E. Schumann
Office o f Wages and
Industrial Relations

* The union status and region series are not strictly consistent with
the aggregate series over time. See W ood, “ Estimation Procedures.”

References
Samuels, Normal J. “ Developing a General Wage Index,” Monthly
Labor Review, March 1971, pp. 3-8.

Employment Cost Index,” Monthly Labor Review, January 1978,
pp. 18-26.

Schwenk, Albert E. “ Introducing New Weights for the Employment
Cost Index,” Monthly Labor Review, June 1985, pp. 22-27.

U.S. Department o f Labor. Bureau o f Labor Statistics, “ The
Employment Cost Index,’; Chapter 11, BLS Handbook o f Methods,
Bulletin 2134-1, 1982.

Sheifer, Victor J. “ Employment Cost Index: A Measure o f Change in
the ‘Price o f Labor’,” Monthly Labor Review, July 1975, pp. 3-12.
W ood, G. Donald, Jr. “ Estimation Procedures for the Employment
Cost Index,” Monthly Labor Review, May 1982, pp. 40-42.

Sheifer, Victor J. “ How Benefits Will Be Incorporated Into the

64

Figure 7.1

COMPENSATION
Table 9. Employment Cost Index by occupation and Industry group1
(Not seasonally adjusted)
Percent changes for

Indexes (June 1981 = 100)

12 months ended

3 months ended
Series

Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

Civilian workers2 ...................................................
Workers, by occupational group
White-collar w orkers...............................
Blue-collar w o rkers.................................
Service workers .....................................

119.8

123.9

125.5

1.7

1.2

1.3

5.8

5.2

4.8

120.9
117.7
122.0

125.5
120.9
126.8

127.3
122.2
127.8

1.7
1.6
2.4

1.2
1.1
1.8

1.4
1.1
.8

6.3
4.8
6.7

5.6
4.4
6.5

5.3
3.8
4.8

Workers, by industry division
Manufacturing .......................................
Nonmanufacturing.................................
Services ..............................................
Public administration*........................

117.9
120.7
125.0
122.9

122.0
124.8
130.9
128.6

123.9
126.2
131.9
130.1

1.6
1.8
2.0
1.2

1.3
1.2
1.6
1.3

1.6
1.1
1.2

4.8
6.3
7.2
5.8

5.2
5.2
6.8
5.9

5.1
4.6
5.5
5.9

Private industry workers4 ...............................

119.0

122.7

124.2

1.7

1.3

1.2

5.7

4.9

4.4

Workers, by occupational group
White-collar w orkers...............................
Blue-collar workers
Service workers .....................................

119.9
117.5
121.5

123.9
120.5
125.7

125.8
121.9
126.3

1.7
1.6
3.1

1.2
1.1
2.0

1.5
1.1
.5

6.3
4.8
6.8

5.1
4.2
6.6

4.9
3.7
4.0

Workers, by industry division
Manufacturing..........................................
Nonmanufacturing.................................

117.9
119.6

122.0
123.1

123.9
124.4

1.6
1.8

1.3
1.2

1.6
1.1

4.8
6.2

5.2
4.8

5.1
4.0

123.9

130.1

131.7

1.6

1.0

1.2

6.4

6.6

6.3

Workers, by occupational group
White-collar w orkers...............................
Blue-collar workers

124.5
121.9

131.1
125.9

132.5
128.1

1.5
2.3

1.1
.7

1.1
1.7

6.4
6.1

6.9
5.6

6.4
5.1

Workers, by industry division
Services
Schools
Elementary and secondary
Hospitals and other services*
Public administration*.............................

124.5
124.5
125.4
124.4
122.9

131.3
132.0
133.5
129.2
128.6

132.8
133.4
134.4
131.1
130.1

1.5
1.5
1.2
1.5
1.2

1.1
1.1
1.1
1.0
1.3

1.1
1.1
.7
1.5
1.2

6.6
6.8
7.0
5.9
5.8

7.1
7.7
7.7
5.4
5.9

6.7
7.1
7.2
5.4
5.9

State and local government workers

’ The index measures changes in total compensation costs (wages,
salaries, and employer costs for employee benefits).
1 Includes private industry and State and local government workers and ex­
cludes farm, household, and Federal government workers.

65

.8

1 Consists of legislative, judicial, administrative, and regulatory activities.
4 Excludes farm and household workers.
* Includes, for example, library, social, and health services.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Wage Developments, July
1985.

Figure 7.2

WAGES AND SALARIES
Table 10. Employment Cost Index for wages and salaries only, by occupation and industry group
(Not seasonally adjusted)
Percent changes for

Indexes (June 1981 = 100)

3 months ended
Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

Civilian workers1 ...................................................

117.9

121.7

Workers, by occupational group
White-collar workers...............................
Blue-collar w orkers.................................
Service workers ......................................

119.3
115.3
120.0

Workers, by industry division
Manufacturing..........................................
Nonmanufacturing.................................
Services ..............................................
Public administration1 ........................
2

Series

12 months ended

Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

123.1

1.2

1.2

1.2

5.1

4.5

4.4

123.5
118.2
124.3

125.2
119.3
124.8

1.2
1.1
2.2

1.1
1.0
1.6

1.4
.9
.4

5.6
4.1
6.0

4.7
3.7
5.9

4.9
3.5
4.0

115.7
118.9
123.3
120.4

119.5
122.6
128.9
125.7

121.0
123.9
129.7
127.0

1.0
1.3
1.6
.8

1.3
1.1
1.3
1.0

1.3
1.1
.6
1.0

4.2
5.5
6.5
5.1

4.4
4.4
6.3
5.3

4.6
4.2
5.2
5.5

Private industry workers* ...............................

117.2

120.6

122.0

1.2

1.2

1.2

5.0

4.1

4.1

Workers, by occupational group
White-collar w orkers...............................
Blue-collar w orkers.................................
Service workers .....................................

118.5
115.1
119.8

122.3
118.0
123.7

124.0
119.1
123.8

1.1
1.1
2.8

1.2
1.1
2.1

1.4
.9
.1

5.6
4.0
6.1

4.4
3.6
6.2

4.6
3.5
3.3

Workers, by industry division
Manufacturing..........................................
Nonmanufacturing.................................

115.7
118.0

119.5
121.2

121.0
122.6

1.0
1.3

1.3
1.1

1.3
1.2

4.2
5.4

4.4
4.0

4.6
3.9

State and local government workers.............

121.6

127.1

128.4

1.3

.8

1.0

5.6

5.9

5.6

Workers, by occupational group
White-collar w orkers...............................
Blue-collar w orkers.................................

122.2
119.1

128.0
122.5

129.3
124.2

1.3
1.9

.7
.5

1.0
1.4

5.7
5.1

6.1
4.8

5.8
4.3

Workers by industry division
Services ...................................................
Schools................................................
Elementary and secondary...........
Hospitals and other services4 ...........
Public administration2 .............................

122.2
122.2
122.9
121.9
120.4

128.1
128.7
130.2
125.9
125.7

129.4
129.9
130.8
127.7
127.0

1.3
1.3
1.0
1.1
.8

.7
.7
.7
.6
1.0

1.0
.9
.9
1.4
1.0

5.8
6.1
6.1
4.6
5.1

6.2
6.7
6.7
4.4
5.3

5.9
6.3
6.3
4.8
5.5

11ncludes private industry and State and local government workers and ex­
cludes farm, household, and Federal government workers.
2 Consists of legislative, judicial, administrative, and regulatory activities.

* Excludes farm and household workers.
4 Includes, for example, library, social, and health services.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Wage Developments, July

1985.

66

Figure 7.3

WAGES AND SALARIES
Table 11. Employment Cost Index for wages and salaries, private industry workers,1 by occupation and industry group
(Not seasonally adjusted)
Percent changes for

Indexes (June 1981 = 100)

3 months ended
Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

117.2

120.6

White-collar w orkers...................................
Professional and technical workers . . .
Managers and administrators...............
Salesworkers ..........................................
Clerical workers ......................................

118.5
122.2
118.0
110.2
119.8

Blue-collar w orkers.....................................
Craft and kindred w orkers......................
Operatives, except transport ...............
Transport equipment operatives...........
Nonfarm lab o rers...................................
Service workers ..........................................

Series

12 months ended

Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

122.0

1.2

1.2

1.2

5.0

4.1

4.1

122.3
127.3
122.2
111.6
122.9

124.0
127.7
123.8
116.3
124.7

1.1
1.5
2.0
-.9
1.3

1.2
1.7
1.0
1.0
.7

1.4
.3
1.3
4.2
1.5

5.6
6.4
5.4
4.3
5.6

4.4
5.7
5.6
.4
3.9

4.6
4.5
4.9
5.5
4.1

115.1
116:5
114.9
111.7
112.9

118.0
119.4
117.9
114.0
115.9

119.1
120.8
118.9
114.5
116.7

1.1
1.0
1.1
1.4
.7

1.1
1.2
1.1
.5
1.0

.9
1.2
.8
.4
.7

4.0
3.8
4.5
3.4
3.6

3.6
3.5
3.8
3.4
3.4

3.5
3.7
3.5
2.5
3.4

119.8

123.7

123.8

2.8

2.1

.1

6.1

6.2

3.3

Manufacturing..............................................
D urables...................................................
Nondurables............................................

115.7
115.7
115.8

119.5
119.1
120.2

121.0
120.6
121.6

1.0
1.1
1.0

1.3
1.2
1.3

1.3
1.3
1.2

4.2
4.1
4.4

4.4
4.1
4.9

4.6
4.2
5.0

Nonmanufacturing......................................
Construction............................................
Transportation and public utilities.........
Wholesale and retail trade ....................
Wholesale t r a d e .................................
Retail tr a d e ..........................................
Finance, insurance, and real estate . . .
Services ...................................................

118.0
113.3
118.5
114.3
118.2
112.8
116.1
124.7

121.2
114.4
120.7
118.1
122.9
116.2
115.8
129.5

122.6
115.5
121.7
118.8
123.7
116.9
122.0
129.9

1.3
.4
1.5
1.8
1.5
2.0
-.7
1.9

1.1
.1
.7
1.4
1.8
1.1
.4
1.9

1.2
1.0
.8
.6
.7
.6
5.4
.3

5.4
2.6
5.0
6.3
5.7
5.2
5.0
7.1

4.0
1.3
3.3
5.2
5.5
5.1
-.9
6.2

3.9
1.9
2.7
3.9
4.7
3.6
5.1
4.6

Private industry workers1 ...................................
Workers, by occupational group

Workers, by industry division

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Wage Developments, July
1985.

’ Excludes farm and private household workers.

67

Figure 7.4

COMPENSATION
Table 12. Employment Coat Index, private Industry workers, by bargaining status, region, and area size*
(Not seasonally adjusted)
Percent changes for

Indexes (June 1981 = 100)

12 months ended

3 months ended
Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

Union......................................................
Manufacturing...................................
Nonmanufacturing...........................

120.6
119.3
121.9

123.9
123.2
124.5

Nonunion................................................
Manufacturing...................................
Nonmanufacturing...........................

118.0
116.6
118.6

Series

Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

124.8
124.2
125.3

1.5
1.8
1.2

1.1
1.3
.7

0.7
.8
.6

5.3
4.6
6.1

4.3
5.1
3.4

3.5
4.1
2.8

121.9
120.8
122.4

123.8
123.6
123.9

1.8
1.5
1.9

1.3
1.3
1.4

1.6
2.3
1.2

5.8
4.9
6.3

5.2
5.1
5.2

4.9
6.0
4.5

118.9
119.7
117.2
121.0

123.8
122.2
120.8
124.9

125.1
124.2
122.0
126.8

1.2
2.2
2.2
.8

1.1
1.2
.9
2.0

1.1
1.6
1.0
1.5

5.6
6.4
5.7
4.9

5.4
4.4
5.3
4.1

5.2
3.8
4.1
4.8

119.4
116.7

123.2
119.8

124.7
121.4

1.7
1.9

1.4
.7

1.2
1.3

5.8
5.3

4.9
4.6

4.4
4.0

Workers, by bargaining status

Workers, by region
Northeast .............................................
South......................................................
Midwest (formerly North Central)
W e s t......................................................
Workers, by area size
Metropolitan a r e a s ...............................
Other areas...........................................

'The index measures changes in total compensation costs (wages,
salaries, and employer costs for employee benefits). Farm and household
workers are excluded.
2 Less than .05 percent.

Dashes indicate that data are not available.
note : The indexes for these series are not strictly comparable to those for
the aggregate, occupation, and industry series. See explanatory note.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Wage Developments, July
1985.

Figure 7.5

WAGES AND SALARIES
Table 13. Employment Cost Index for wages and salaries, private industry workers,1 by bargaining status, region, and area size
(Not seasonally adjusted)
Indexes (June 1981 = 100)

Percent changes for
3 months ended

Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

Union......................................................
Manufacturing...................................
Nonmanufacturing

118.1
116.1
120.1

120.9
119.5
122.1

Nonunion...............................................
Manufacturing...................................
Nonmanufacturing...........................

116.7
115.4
117.2

Series

12 months ended

Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

Mar.
1984

Dec.
1984

Mar.
1985

121.7
120.4
122.8

1.0
1.1
1.0

0.9
1.2
.7

0.7
.8
.6

4.6
4.2
5.1

3.4
4.1
2.7

3.0
3.7
2.2

120.4
119.5
120.7

122.1
121.5
122.3

1.3
1.1
1.4

1.3
1.4
1.3

1.4
1.7
1.3

5.2
4.2
5.6

4.5
4.6
4.4

4.6
5.3
4.4

117.4
117.9
115.5
118.8

121.9
120.2
118.7
122.5

123.0
122.3
119.6
124.0

.7
1.9
1.7
.3

1.2
1.0
.8
2.1

.9
1.7
.8
1.2

4.8
5.8
4.9
4.1

4.5
3.9
4.5
3.4

4.8
3.7
3.5
4.4

117.6
115.1

121.0
118.3

122.4
119.6

1.2
1.5

1.3
.7

1.2
1.1

5.1
4.5

4.1
4.3

4.1
3.9

Workers, by bargaining status

Workers, by region
Northeast.............................................
South......................................................
Midwest (formerly North C entral)........
W e s t......................................................
Workers, by area size
Metropolitan a re a s ...............................
Other areas...........................................

' Excludes farm and private household workers.
Note : The indexes for these series are not strictly comparable to those for

68

the aggregate, occupation, and industry series. See explanatory note.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Wage Developments, July
1985.

Chapter 8. Hourly Compensation
Measures of the Office of
Productivity and Technology

pension plans, group health and life insurance, compen­
sation for injuries, and pay for military leave.
Quarterly employee compensation data from b e a are
seasonally adjusted and presented at annual rates. Total
employee compensation for the U.S. economy is ad­
justed to the business level by subtracting the compensa­
tion o f employees working in private households and
nonprofit institutions and all government employees not
working in government enterprises.
Bea compensation measures cover only wage and
salary workers and omit the cost o f labor provided by
proprietors. Because omission o f these workers would
seriously underestimate labor costs, particularly in sec­
tors such as farming and retail trade where proprietors
contribute a substantial portion o f labor time, o p t adds
an imputed payment for the labor services o f pro­
prietors to the b e a measures. The hourly labor compen­
sation of proprietors in a given sector is estimated by
assuming it is the same as that o f the average employee
in that sector. (Although no compensation is calculated
for the labor contributed by unpaid family workers,
their hours are included when calculating hourly com­
pensation.)

The Office o f Productivity and Technology ( o p t ) o f
the Bureau o f Labor Statistics produces measures o f
compensation per hour and real compensation per hour
as part o f its productivity and cost measurement pro­
gram. These measures are produced quarterly for U.S.
business, nonfarm business, manufacturing (including
the durable and nondurable goods subsectors), and nonfinancial corporations, and annually for all major
subsectors.1 Most measures extend back to 1947; nonfinancial corporate measures to 1958.
The hourly compensation and real hourly compensa­
tion measures are in index form and designed to em­
phasize changes in labor costs over time. To compute
these measures, o p t requires three separate pieces of
data—a compensation measure, a measure o f hours,
and the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Con­
sumers ( c p i -u ) . Compensation includes employer ex­
penditures for employee wages and salaries, social in­
surance, and private benefits, plus estimates o f these
components for the self-employed. Hours are calculated
separately for wage and salary workers, the selfemployed, and unpaid family workers, then summed to
the all person level. Compensation per hour equals
estimated compensation divided by these hours. Real
hourly compensation is compensation per hour divided
by the c p i -u .

Hours. The hours data used in the

o p t compensation
measures come from various surveys. In general, hours
o f all persons are computed by multiplying employment
by average weekly hours at the 2-digit Standard In­
dustrial Classification level each month.2 These weekly
hours are converted to annual rates by multiplying them
by 52. Seasonal factors are computed using a time span
and method which correspond to the procedure for
seasonally adjusting compensation used by the b e a .
This avoids influencing hourly compensation measures
through the use o f different seasonal adjustments for
the numerator and denominator of the hourly compen­
sation ratios. The seasonally adjusted results are summed
to totals for business, nonfarm business, nonfinancial
corporations, and manufacturing; quarterly averages
are computed from 3 monthly levels. Annual averages
are computed based on 12 months o f data.

Data sources and methods
The OPT measures o f hourly compensation combine
hours data with compensation information,
primarily from the Bureau o f Economic Analysis ( b e a ) ,
U.S. Department o f Commerce.
bls

Compensation. Bea develops employee compensation
data as part o f the national income accounts, including
both direct payments and supplements. Direct payments
include wages and salaries, commissions and tips,
bonuses, paid leave, and payments in kind. Sup­
plements to direct payments include items such as
employer contributions for social insurance, private
1 Major subsectors are: Farm; mining; manufacturing; construc­
tion; transportation; communications; electric, gas, and sanitary
utilities; wholesale trade; retail trade; finance, insurance, and real
estate; services; and government enterprises.

2 Data for the years prior to 1972 were processed at the 1-digit sic sec­
tor level.

69

Hours o f wage and salary workers (the all-employee
series) in the business sector and nonfarm business, nonfinancial corporate and major nonmanufacturing sec­
tors come primarily from the bls Current Employment
Statistics (ces) program, which collects data monthly on
employment and average weekly hours of production or
nonsupervisory workers in nonagricultural estab­
lishments (see chapter 3). The ces statistics represent
hours paid, which include vacation and leave time,
rather than hours at work, and are based on payroll
records from a sample of establishments. The reference
period for these data is the payroll period including the
12th o f the month. Information from the bls Employ­
ment and Wages program (see chapter 5) is used to sup­
plement data in the nonfarm portion o f the agricultural
sector, primarily agricultural services.
In manufacturing, total employee hours are com­
puted separately for production and nonproduction
workers and then combined. Because the c e s covers on­
ly production workers, average weekly hours for non­
production workers are based on b l s studies o f wages
and supplements which provided information on the
regularly scheduled workweek o f w hite-collar
employees. In nonmanufacturing sectors, supervisory
employees are assigned the same weekly hours as non­
supervisory employees o f the same sector.
Measures o f hours paid are developed for each major
sector. To bring these hours into conformity with the
business sector concept, the hours o f employees o f non­
profit institutions are subtracted from sector totals.
Hours o f employees are treated as homogeneous, with
no distinction made between employees with different
levels o f skill or rates o f pay.
Since the c e s establishment survey covers only
nonagricultural wage and salary workers, statistics from
the Current Population Survey ( c p s ) are used for other
types o f workers (farm workers, proprietors, and un­
paid family workers). The hours o f these persons are ad­
ded to the employee hour figures to develop estimates o f
the hours o f all persons in the business, nonfarm
business, manufacturing, and major nonmanufacturing
sectors. In the nonfinancial corporate sector, where
there are no proprietors or unpaid family workers, data
from the c p s on hours of wage and salary workers on
farms are needed to complete the all-employee measure.
Statistics from the c p s survey represent hours at work,
not hours paid as in the c e s , and are based on a monthly
survey o f a nationwide sample o f households conducted
for b l s by the Bureau o f the Census. (See chapter 4.)

Preliminary measures for business, nonfarm business,
and manufacturing are first announced in January,
April, July, and October with revised measures for these
sectors and preliminary measures for nonfinancial cor­
porations in February, May, August, and November.
These data also appear in tables 29 through 32 of the
Monthly Labor Review , tables C-10 and C -ll o f
Employment and Earnings, and in each edition o f the

Handbook o f Labor Statistics.
The measures are presented as indexes with percent
changes shown from the previous quarter (at annual
rates), and from the same quarter in the previous year.
Year-to-year changes are computed by comparing an­
nual averages, rather than fourth quarter-to-fourth
quarter movements.
Indexes for major subsectors, which are produced on­
ly annually, are not published but are available upon re­
quest from the Office o f Productivity and Technology.
Computer tapes o f regularly published measures can be
obtained by contacting the Division o f Planning and
Financial Management, Bureau o f Labor Statistics,
Washington, D .C ., 20212. Special tapes for other
measures may be available from the Office o f Produc­
tivity and Technology.

Uses and limitations
The hourly compensation series produced by o p t are
designed for use in conjunction with related productivi­
ty and cost measures. These series are useful for
forecasting and analysis o f prices, wages, profits, and
costs o f production. However, because hourly compen­
sation measures are presented in index form, their use is
limited to the analysis o f changes over time.
Hourly compensation measures are especially rele­
vant to discussions o f productivity and production
costs, and emphasize employer expenditures rather than
employee income. Unit labor cost (compensation per
unit o f output) represents a major portion o f total unit
cost and changes in these costs reflect the combined ef­
fects o f movements in compensation per hour and pro­
ductivity (output per hour). An increase in compensa­
tion per hour tends to increase unit costs, while an in­
crease in labor productivity tends to reduce these costs.
Therefore, the effect of rising compensation on prices
or profits is dependent on concurrent movements in
productivity.
Indexes o f hourly compensation help to provide an
understanding o f what is occurring in the economy. For
example, between 1978 and 1981, real hourly compensa­
tion in the nonfarm business sector fell in 12 o f the 16
quarters, a series of declines which was unprecedented
in the postwar period. Largely as a result o f these
declines, real hourly compensation had not yet
recovered to 1978 levels by mid 1985. The longest period
previously required to recover from a decline in real
hourly compensation had been 12 quarters, from the se-

Presentation
Hourly and real hourly compensation measures are
produced in each o f the 2 months following the
reference quarter by the Office o f Productivity and
Technology and published in the b l s “ Productivity and
Costs” news releases. (See figures 8-1 and 8-2.)
70

which measures actual hours at the workplace. When
enough data are available to produce a time series, they
will be incorporated into the hours portion of the com­
pensation measures.3
O p t hourly compensation measures differ from the
Bureau’s Employment Cost Index (see chapter 7) in that
they do not attempt to hold industrial or occupational
composition of the work force constant. A change in
either will be reflected as a change in hourly compensa­
tion. Over the long term, the aggregate hourly compen­
sation measures are affected by major reallocations of
resources. For instance, the shift in employment from
the farm sector to the nonfarm sector, where average
hourly compensation has been more than twice as high,
has resulted in a long-term growth in business hourly
compensation which is higher than in either of the com­
ponent sectors.

cond quarter of 1973 to the second quarter 1976.
One limitation of the hourly compensation measures
stems from the manner in which the indexes are ex­
trapolated from compensation per hour of all
employees to compensation per hour of all persons.
Since labor compensation data are reported directly on­
ly for employees and must be imputed for proprietors,
the all-persons measures are not as reliable as those for
all employees, although they are obviously more com­
prehensive.
The b l s series on labor hours is mainly based on
hours paid for and includes paid vacations, sick leave,
and holidays. A more appropriate measure of compen­
sation for use with productivity measures would be bas­
ed on hours at work, but historical data relating hours
at work to payroll hours are scanty. To improve the
hours measure, o p t began conducting a survey in 1982

Phyllis Flohr Otto
Office of Productivity
and Technology

3 See Kent Kunze, “ A New b l s Survey Measures the Ratio o f Hours
Worked to Hours Paid,” Monthly Labor Review, June 1984, pp. 3-7,
for more information on the survey and some preliminary indications
of findings.

References
U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau o f Labor Statistics, BLS
Handbook o f Methods. Vol. I, Bulletin 2134-1, December 1982, Ch.

Jerome A. Mark and William H. Waldorf. ‘‘Multifactor Produc­
tivity: A New BLS Measure,” Monthly Labor Review, December
1983, pp. 3-15.

13, ‘‘Productivity Measures: Business Economy and Major Sectors,”
pp. 93-100.
U.S. Department o f Labor, Trends in Multifactor Productivity,
Bulletin 2178, September 1983, pp. 52-55.

71

Figure 8.1
Table 1. Business sector Productivity, hourly compensation, unit labor cost, and prices, seasonally adjusted
Year and quarter

Output per
hour of
all persons

Output

Hours of
all persons

Real com ­
Compensation pensation per
per hour (1)
per hour (2)

Unit labor
cost

Unit non-labor
payments (3)

Implicit
price
deflator (4)

Indexes 1977 = 100
1984:
I ...................................
I I .................................................
Ill ...............................................
I V ...............................................

105.7
107.0
107.2
108.0

117.8
121.0
121.5
123.0

111.4
113.0
113.4
113.9

166.7
167.5
169.3
171.1

98.6
98.2
98.3
98.5

157.7
156.5
158.0
158.4

151.6
157.2
158.5
160.2

155.6
156.7
158.2
159.0

Annual ...............................................

107.0

120.8

112.9

168.6

98.4

157.6

157.0

157.4

1985:
I

107.1

123.1

114.9

173.3

99.0

161.9

159.5

161.1

...................................

Percent change from previous quarter at annual rate (5)
1984:
I ...................................
I I .................................................
I l l ...............................................
I V ...............................................

4.0
4.9
0.6
3.1

11.4
11.2
1.8
5.0

7.2
6.0
1.2
1.8

6.2
1.9
4.4
4.4

0.8
-1 .8
0.7
0.8

2.1
-2.9
3.7
1.2

7.0
15.4
3.4
4.3

3.7
2.9
3.6
2.2

A n n u a l...............................................

3.2

8.8

5.4

4.2

0.0

1.0

7.9

3.2

-3.5

0.1

3.7

5.2

1.8

9.0

-1.6

5.3

1985:
I

...................................

Percent change from corresponding quarter of previous year
1984:
I ...................................
I I .................................................
I l l ...............................................
I V ...............................................

3.5
3.3
2.7
3.2

10.2
9.9
8.0
7.3

6.5
6.4
5.1
4.0

4.1
4.0
4.6
4.2

-0.4
-0.3
0.4
0.1

0.6
0.7
1.9
1.0

8.4
8.7
7.1
7.4

3.0
3.3
3.6
3.1

A n n u a l...............................................

3.2

8.8

5.4

4.2

0.0

1.0

7.9

3.2

1985:
I

1.2

4.4

3.2

3.9

0.4

2.7

5.2

3.5

...................................

4 Current dollar gross product divided by constant dollar gross product.
5 Quarterly changes: percent change compounded at annual rate from the
original data rather than index numbers. Annual changes: percent change
between annual average levels.

’ Wages and salaries of the employees plus employers’ contributions for
social insurance and private benefit plans. Except for nonfinancial corpora­
tions, where there are no self-employed, data also include an estimate of
wages, salaries, and supplemental payments for the self-employed.
2 Compensation per hour adjusted for changes in the Consumer Price In­
dex for All Urban Consumers.
s Nonlabor payments include profits, depreciation, interest, rental income,
and indirect taxes.

SOURCE: BLS News release, “ Productivity and costs, first quarter 1985,”
(USDL 85-215, May 29, 1985)

72

Figure 8.2
Table 2. Nonfarm business sector Productivity, hourly compensation, unit labor cost, and prices, seasonally adjusted
Year and quarter

Output per
hour of
all persons

Output

Hours of
all persons

Real com­
Compensation pensation per
per hour (1)
per hour (2)

Unit labor
cost

Unit non-labor
payments (3)

Implicit
price
deflator (4)

Indexes 1977 = 100
1984:
I ..................................
I I ...............................................
Ill ...............................................
I V ...............................................

105.2
106.6
106.3
106.9

118.0
121.0
121.3
122.7

112.3
113.6
114.1
114.8

166.5
168.0
169.5
171.0

98.4
98.4
98.4
98.5

158.3
157.6
159.5
160.0

152.2
156.8
158.0
160.3

156.3
157.3
159.0
160.1

A n n u a l...........................................

106.2

120.7

113.6

168.7

98.4

158.8

156.9

158.2

106.2

122.9

115.7

173.3

99.0

163.2

160.9

162.4

2.3
12.5
3.1
5.9

2.8
2.8
4.2
2.9

1985:
I

...................................

Percent change from previous quarter at annual rate (5)
1984:
I ...................................
I I .................................................
I l l ...............................................
I V ...............................................

2.9
5.5
-1.1
2.2

10.3
10.6
0.7
4.7

7.2
4.8
1.8
2.4

6.1
3.7
3.6
3.7

-0.1
0.1

3.1
-1.7
4.7
1.4

A n n u a l...........................................

2.7

8.5

5.7

4.1

-0.1

1.4

6.7

3.1

-2.5

0.8

3.3

5.4

2.1

8.1

1.6

5.9

1985:
I

...................................

0.7

0.0

Percent change from corresponding quarter of previous year
1984:
I ...................................
I I .................................................
I l l ...............................................
I V ...............................................

3.5
2.9
2.1
2.4

10.6
9.7
7.6
6.5

6.9
6.6
5.4
4.0

4.0
4.0
4.4
4.3

-0.5
-0.3
0.2
0.2

0.4
1.1
2.3
1.9

8.3
7.1
5.7
5.9

2.9
3.0
3.4
3.2

Annual ...........................................

2.7

8.5

5.7

4.1

-0.1

1.4

6.7

3.1

1.0

4.1

3.1

4.1

0.5

3.1

5.7

3.9

1985:
I

...................................

See footnotes table 1.

SOURCE: BLS News Release, “ Productivity and costs, first quarter 1985,"
(USDL 85-215, May 29, 1985)

73

Chapter 9. Measuring Negotiated
Wage and Benefit Changes

Concepts and products

Two types of information on wage and benefit
changes negotiated through collective bargaining are
produced by the b l s current wage developments pro­
gram:
—Monthly listings by employer and union, contain­
ing a description of the negotiated changes (see figure
9-1); and
—Statistical summaries of aggregate changes.
There are two surveys of collective bargaining situa­
tions involving 1,000 workers or more, one of private
industry and another of State and local government.
Survey data include adjustments stemming from new
contract settlements (see figures 9-2 and 9-3), deferred
changes (that is, those changes provided for in contracts
reached earlier but which go into effect at a later
period), and changes resulting from cost-of-living ad­
justments (cola’s). (See figure 9-4.) Statistical sum­
maries are compiled quarterly for private industry and
semiannually for State and local government.

The current wage developments program measures
the size of negotiated wage adjustments in major collec­
tive bargaining situations (covering 1,000 workers or
more) and compensation (wage and benefit cost) ad­
justments for situations covering 5,000 workers or more
for all industries except construction. In construction,
compensation adjustments are computed for all
bargaining units of 1,000 workers or more.
Negotiated wage rate changes are measured for in­
dividual bargaining situations. A bargaining situation
may consist of workers in a single location or in several
locations who are represented by one or more unions
and who may be employed by one or more firms. If the
employers and unions negotiate together for at least
1,000 workers, a bargaining situation exists. For exam­
ple, a group of employers each with fewer than 1,000
workers but collectively with more than 1,000 con­
stitutes a bargaining unit if the employers negotiate as a
group with one or more unions who represent their
employees.
In State and local government, three criteria must be
met for an employer-employee relationship to constitute
a bargaining unit: 1) A labor organization (union or
employee association) is recognized as a bargaining
agent for employees; 2) wages are determined by collec­
tive bargaining; and 3) agreements are reflected in bind­
ing contracts between the parties.
Two kinds of data on negotiated wage and benefit ad­
justments are produced by the current wage
developments program: Settlement data and effective
wage change data. Settlement data measure wage and
compensation adjustments—increases, decreases, and
freezes—specified in agreements reached during the
reference period (for example quarter or year.) These
adjustments, expressed as percent changes in existing
wages or compensation, are computed for the first year
of the contract and as an average annual rate of change
over the life of the contract. They do not take into ac­
count future changes that may occur as a result of c o l a
stemming from changes in the Consumer Price Index
because these are unknown at the time of settlement.
Effective wage changes are those that take place dur­
ing the reference period. They include one or more of
the following: Changes specified in settlements reached
during the reference period and made effective during

Background

Bls began the systematic collection of information on
wage and benefit adjustments resulting from collective
bargaining in 1948. Information was first published
monthly and showed the company, union, number of
workers under each contract settlement, and the wage
and benefit terms of the new contract. Data on wage
changes were put in statistical form and published inter­
mittently between 1949 and 1954; a regular statistical
series began in 1954. This series provides information
on median wage changes in bargaining units of 1,000
workers or more. Initially it was limited in its industrial
coverage, however, and excluded construction, services,
finance, and government. It was expanded to cover ad­
justments in benefits as well as wages in units of 10,000
workers or more in 1965 and in units of 5,000 or more in
1966. Also in 1966, the industrial scope of the series was
expanded to cover all private nonagricultural industries.
The series was further enhanced in 1968 when mean as
well as median adjustments were computed for the first
time. A separate series on negotiated wage and benefit
adjustments in State and local government was begun in
1979, covering bargaining units of 5,000 workers
or more. In 1984, this series was expanded to
include wage adjustments in units of 1,000 workers or
more. First publication of these data was in 1985.
74

that period; changes specified in settlements reached
earlier but deferred to the reference period; and cost-ofliving adjustments made during the reference period.
Settlement data reflect the economic status of the par­
ties at the time of bargaining and their expectations of
the future. Changes specified to take place during the
second or third year of a contract are usually, but not
always, implemented. When economic circumstances
dictate, the parties may agree to open the contract for
negotiation before it expires. Some contract reopenings
may be provided for by the agreement (scheduled) or
may be unscheduled. In either case, the results of con­
tract reopening are treated as new settlements.

mally considered part of compensation, such as per
diem payments, moving expense reimbursements,
payments for safety clothing, and provision of facilities
or services such as parking lots and health units.
Other terms of a union-management agreement besides
wage and benefit provisions may affect an employer’s
costs. For example, changes in staffing requirements,
which may change employer costs, are not reflected in
the data because they do not affect employee compensa­
tion.
Indirect effects of settlements are ignored; factors
such as possible extension of settlement terms to nonu­
nion workers in the same firm or to members of other
bargaining units are not considered. Similarly, although
the cost of providing lengthened vacations is measured
(by the wages and salaries paid for the additional time
off), the cost of hiring vacation replacements, if
necessary, is not measured.

Survey methods

Data are obtained for all collective bargaining units
within the scope of the series. Calculations of the size of
negotiated wage and benefit changes are based on actual
characteristics of the work force covered by the
agreements at settlement. These include average hourly
earnings in the bargaining unit, and the distribution of
workers by occupation, earnings, and length of service.
When estimates of compensation changes are made,
data are also obtained on employer costs for various
benefits. Data on work force characteristics and benefit
costs are usually obtained directly from the companies
as part of a variety of b l s surveys. Data for these
surveys are collected under a pledge that they will be
kept confidential and not released outside the Bureau.
Other data sources for these calculations include the file
of union contracts maintained by b l s , the file of pen­
sion and insurance benefit agreements and financial in­
formation maintained by the Department of Labor’s
Office of Pension and Welfare Benefit Programs, and
company annual reports. Secondary sources, including
general circulation newspapers and periodicals and
union, management, and trade publications, are used in
producing listings of agreements.

Determination o f costs. A value is placed on set­
tlements at the time they are reached. Therefore,
changes in costs attributed to them are estimates of
outlays to be made in the future. The estimates are made
on the assumption that conditions existing at the time
the contract is negotiated will not change. For example,
it is assumed that methods of financing pensions will
not change, and that expenditures for insurance will not
change except as a result of altered benefit provisions or
modified participation because of changes in company
contributions. It is also assumed that the composition of
the labor force will not change.
Except for any “ guaranteed cost-of-living increases,”
which are treated as deferred adjustments, possible
wage rate changes that may result from c o l a clauses are
excluded because future changes in the Consumer Price
Index, upon which they are based, are unknown.
Estimates of compensation change are based on the
actual characteristics of the workforce affected by the
settlements, taking account of their actual age, length of
service, sex, and skills. The estimates, therefore,
recognize that the choice in incorporating alternative
benefit changes into contracts is affected by their costs,
which, in turn, are affected by the character of the work
force. For example, an extra week of vacation after 15
years of service will cost very little when only 10 percent
of the workers have that much service, but will add
about 1 percent to the annual cost of straight-time pay
for working time when half of the workers have been
employed for 15 years or longer.
Changes in wage rates affect costs for certain benefits
that are linked to wage rates, such as paid leave, Social
Security, and pensions based on earnings. This effect,
variously referred to as “ creep,” “ bulge,” or “ rollup,”
is reflected in estimates of changes in compensation.
Many items in a collective bargaining agreement are
priced without difficulty. This is particularly true when

Estimating procedures

Items for which costs are determined. The current wage
developments program is confined to measuring how
settlements change employee compensation, that is,
wages and benefits. Included in the calculations are:
Changes in wage rates; modifications in premium pay,
paid leave, and severance pay; and adjustments in
employer payments for pension, health and welfare,
and supplemental unemployment benefits, excluding
the costs of administering these benefits. The costs of
changes in contract provisions specifying paid time for
clothes change, washup, and lunch periods are also in­
cluded. Changes in nonproduction bonuses and similar
lump-sum payments are excluded, because they do not
affect ongoing rates of pay. Also excluded are items
which, although related to compensation, are not nor­
75

data on the average of increases alone, or of decreases
alone may be published. Effective wage adjustment data
are handled in similar fashion. Collective bargaining
agreements generally are for 2-year periods or longer.
The total percent change over the contract term is ex­
pressed as an annual rate to permit comparison among
agreements for differing time spans as well as to
facilitate the use of the data in conjunction with other
statistical series. The annual rates of increase take into
account the compounding of successive changes. In ad­
dition, the Bureau computes first-year adjustments in
wages (or compensation), because they are often dif­
ferent from the average annual adjustment over the full
term of the agreement.

settlement terms are expressed as cents-per-hour ad­
justments as, for example, a 20-cent-an-hour general
wage increase or a 5-cent increase in employer contribu­
tions to a health and welfare fund. These stipulated
cents-per-hour figures are used as the costs of the settle­
ment provisions. Percentage wage adjustments are con­
verted to cents-per-hour figures on the basis of current
average straight-time hourly earnings in the bargaining
unit.
The cost of an additional holiday is estimated less
directly by prorating average pay for a normal workday
over the number of annual working hours per employee.
The cost of an additional week of vacation is estimated
similarly, but the number of employees who qualify for
the additional vacation must be known.
Other settlement terms are more difficult to price. For
example, the cost of an unfunded severance pay plan
depends not only on plan provisions but on the frequen­
cy of layoffs, which may be difficult to estimate. Costs
of pension improvements are particularly hard to
estimate because employers often have considerable
discretion in funding their obligations. Estimates are
based on the assumption that a pension benefit change
will change expenditures for current service propor­
tionately. Because employer contributions for pensions
frequently vary widely from year to year, outlays in
several past years are examined to develop a measure of
current payments.
For most contract provisions, cost estimates are of ac­
tual cash outlays to be made by employers. In the case
of paid leave provisions, an improvement may entail
time off for workers without additional cash payments
by the employer. However, the cost for each hour work­
ed will rise. This change, therefore, is the cost effect of
the settlement provision. For a reduction in the basic
workweek, the increase in hourly rates needed to main­
tain weekly pay is the major item priced. A reduced
basic workweek may be accompanied by additional
overtime work; unless this overtime is guaranteed in the
agreement, it is ignored in the cost estimate.

Presentation

The listing of current changes in wages and benefits in
individual collective bargaining situations is published
monthly in the periodical Current Wage Developments
( c w d ) . Grouped by industry, the listing includes the
name of the employer and the union, the number of
workers involved, the amount and effective date of the
wage change, details of selected contract changes, and
the reason for the change (that is, whether it is a new set­
tlement, a deferred change, or a c o l a ).
Statistical summaries of preliminary data on set­
tlements and effective wage adjustments are issued for
both private industry and State and local government.
Private industry data are issued for each calendar
quarter and appear in Major Collective Bargaining Set­
tlements in Private Industry, a news release published in
the month following each quarter. State and local
government data, issued for the first half of the year
and for the full year, appear in Major Collective
Bargaining Settlements in State and Local Government,
a news release published about 6 weeks after the
reference period (i.e., in August and February).
Final detailed statistics for the year and an analysis of
them are published in c w d —in the April issue for
private industry and in the May issue for State and local
government.
For private industry, separate data are published for
manufacturing industries, nonmanufacturing in­
dustries, and construction. The data are further
categorized by c o l a coverage. For State and local
government, separate data are published for each of the
two levels of government.

Expressing costs. The cost of a given settlement is ob­
tained by summing the costs (in cents-per-hour worked)
of each wage change (and, if measured, benefit change).
This sum is then expressed as a percent of average wages
(or compensation) per work hour before the settlement.
In computing averages, the overall percentage change
generated by each settlement is weighted by the number
of workers affected. Pricing of individual settlements,
however, is not disclosed; published data are averages
of the costs of individual settlements. The sum of the
worker-weighted changes is divided by the total number
of workers under all settlements whether or not they
received wage or compensation changes as a result of
the settlement. The result is the average percent adjust­
ment, reflecting settlements that increased, decreased,
or did not change wages or compensation. Additional

Uses and limitations

The series on wage and compensation adjustments
resulting from collective bargaining is one of the Federal
Government’s principal economic indicators. As such,
it is used by a variety of Federal agencies including the
Council of Economic Advisers, the Federal Reserve
System, and the Congressional Budget Office, for a
broad range of purposes including determining trends in
76

compensation and forecasting changes in wage and
salary income and gross national product. The statistics,
as well as the monthly listings, are used by the Federal
Mediation and Conciliation Service; State and local
government agencies; employer and employee organiza­
tions; economic consultants; and researchers and practi­
tioners in industrial relations, collective bargaining and
economic forecasting.
Users of the compensation data should remember
that the data do not measure all changes in average
hourly expenditures for employee compensation. In
calculating compensation change estimates, a value is
put on the benefit portion of the settlements at the time
they are reached on the assumption that conditions ex­
isting at the time of settlement will not change. The data
are estimates of negotiated change, not total changes in
employer cost.
However, changes in the existing conditions do oc­
cur—in the volume o f overtime and shift work, in the
composition o f the work force, in the level and stability
o f employment, and in factors affecting incentive earn­
ings, for example. These changes influence outlays for

employee compensation. In some instances, they are in­
troduced by management specifically to offset costs of
new labor agreements. In other cases, changes result
from economic or technological developments that are
independent of collective bargaining but may influence
the cost of the union-management settlement.
Data on negotiated compensation adjustments in
private industry are not strictly comparable with those
in State and local government for several reasons: c o l a
clauses cover over one-half the workers under major
agreements in private industry, but are rare in State and
local government contracts; pension plans, a frequent
subject of bargaining in private industry, are often
prescribed by law in State and local government and
thus are outside the scope of bargaining; and, the need
for legislative allocation of funds to finance negotiated
compensation packages in State and local government is
not a factor in private industry.
Alvin Bauman
Office of Wages
and Industrial Relations

References
BLS Handbook o f Methods, Volume I, Chapter 10, “ Negotiated

Lacombe, J.J. II, and J.R. Conley, “ Major Agreements in 1984
Provide Record Low Wage Increases,” Monthly Labor Review,
April 1985, pp. 39-45.

Wage and Benefit Changes,” Bulletin 2134-1, 1984.

Current Wage Developments. U.S. Department o f Labor, Bureau of
Labor Statistics. Various issues.

77

Figure 9.1

Selected Wage and
Benefit Changes
Current provisions o f collective bargaining agreements are sum­
marized below, as are some wage and benefit changes for nonunion
workers. Underlined entries in the “ Current general wage increase and
effective date” column indicate new settlements or new unilateral
management decisions.
Coverage generally is limited to actions affecting 1,000 workers or
more. Information on government employees appears in various sec­

Employer, union, and
number o f workers
covered

tions o f this listing, depending on the function o f their unit. The infor­
mation presented is drawn mainly from secondary sources, such as
newspapers, union publications, and trade journals. When possible,
the Bureau o f Labor Statistics verifies settlement terms by checking
the agreement. Unions are affiliated with the a f l -c i o except where
noted as Independent (Ind.).

Current general
wage increase and
effective date

Related information

M AIN U F A C T U R IN G
FOOD AND KINDRED PRODUCTS
Swift & Co.
Various locations
United Food and Commerical
Workers— 1,200

25 cents
7 /1 /8 5

Deferred increase negotiated 7/84 (CWD Feb. 1985).

CPC International, Inc.
Various locations
Oil, Chemical and Atomic
Workers— 1,200

26 cents
7 /1 /8 5

Deferred increase negotiated 8/2 5 /8 3 (CWD Aprl 1984); see CWD July 1984.

E.J. Brach & Sons, Inc.
Chicago, IL
Teamsters (Ind.)—3,200

5 percent
7/15/85

Deferred increase negotiated 7/83 (CWD Nov. 1984).

Campbell Soup Co.
Sacramento, CA
Teamsters (Ind.)— 1,400

4.3 percent
5 /6 /8 5

3-year agreement negotiated 5/85 also provided: 3.7 percent in 5/86 and 4.4
percent in 5/87; $3.40 month employee payment for dependent medical benefit
coverage 5/85 (previously, employee paid nothing) increasing to $7.60 a month
5 /8 7 —company to pay full cost o f long-term disabiluty plan (was 50/50) as a
“ trade o ff;” improved accidental death and dismemberment and life insurance

J.P. Stevens & Co.
Roanoke Rapids, NC
Clothing and Textile
Workers— 3,500

See next column

3-year agreement negotiated 5 /26/85 provided: no changes in wages or benefits
following an unscheduled wage reopener on 3 /4 /8 5 yielding 4.6 percent; see
CWD July 1983.

Cone Mills Corp.;
White Oak Plant
Clothing and Textile
Workers—2,100

See next column
6 /2 /8 5

1-year agreement negotiated 6 /2 /8 5 provided: no wage change; however,
previous contract yielded 4.5 percent under unscheduled wage reopener on
12/17/84; no recent listing.

beneifts; see CWD May 1984.

TEXTILE MILL PRODUCTS

78

Continued—Selected wage and benefit changes
Current general
wage increase and
effective date

Employer, union, and
number o f workers
covered

Related information

P A P E R A N D A L L IE D P R O C )U C T S
Scott Paper C o.,
S.D. Warren Div.
Westbrook, ME
Paperworkers— 1,050

5 percent
6 /1/85

2-year agreement negotiated 6 /1 /8 5 also provided: 4.5 percent wage increase on
6 /1 /8 6 ; $20 month pension for each year o f credited services (was $18);
$190 week sickness and accident benefit (was $180) increasing to $200 in 2d year;
$500,000 major medical benefits (was $250,000); $17,000 life insurance (was
$15,000) increasing to $18,000 in 2nd year; see CWD July 1984.

Boise Cascade Paper Group
Rumford, ME
Paperworkers— 1,300

5 percent
7 /1/85

Deferred increase negotiated 6/2 7 /8 3 (CWD Aug. 1983); see CWD July 1984.

Bowaters Southern Paper Corp.
Tennessee
Paperworkers and Electrical
Workers (IBEW)— 1,167

5 percent
7 /3 /8 4

Deferred increase negotiated 5/2 5 /8 4 (CWD Oct. 1984).

Manville Forest Products
West Monroe, LA
Paperworkers—900

5 percent
7 /1/85

Deferred increase negotiated 7 /9 /8 3 (CWD Oct. 1983); see CWD July 1984.

Continental Can C o., Inc.
Hodge, LA
Paperworkers—900

5 percent
7/1/85

Deferred increase negotiated 9 /1 5 /8 3 (CWD Nov. 1983); see CWD July 1984.

James River C o., KVP Div.
Parchment, MI
Paperworkers— 1,000

5 percent plus
$100 bonus
7/24/85

Deferred increase negotiated 7 /2 3 /8 4 CWD Sept. 1984).

James River Corp.,
Board and Carton Div.
Kalamazoo, MI
Paperworkers— 1,200

5 percent
7/24/85

Deferred increase negotiated 7 /2 4 /8 4 (CWD Sept. 1984).

Nekoosa-Edwards Paper Co.
Nekoosa and Port Edwards, WI
Paperworkers— 1,500

4 percent plus
$300 lump sum

3-year agreement negotiated 5 /31/85 also provided: 4 percent on 6 /1 /8 6 and 3.75
percent on 6 /1 /8 7 ; 17 cents (was 15 cents) 2nd shift differential increasing to
19 cents on 6 /1 /8 7 ; 33 cents (was 30 cents) 3rd shift differential increasing to 36
cents on 6/1 /8 7 ; $20 month (was $19) pension for each year o f credited sevice,
increasing to $21 in 2nd and $22 in 3rd years; $13,000 life insurance (was
$12,000) increasing to $14,000 and $15,000 in 2nd and 3rd years, respectively;
employees pay 20 percent (was fully company paid) toward health insurance;
see CWD July 1984.

James River Corp.
Green Bay, WI
Paperworkers—900

$500 lump sum
5 /1/85

3-year agreement negotiated 5 /23/85 also provided: $500 lump sums on 11/1/85,
and 11/1/86, and 4 percent wage increase on 5/1 /8 7 ; $20 (was $18) month
pension benefit for each year o f service 5/87, and effective 5/85 for current
retirees; $170 (was $165) accident and sickness benefits increasing to $175 in
5/86 and to $180 in 5/87; see CWD Aug. 1983 for previous listing.

P R I N T I N G A N D P U B L IS H I N G
Metropolitan Lithographers Inc.
New York, NY
Amalgamated Lithographers
o f America (Ind.)— 5,000

4.3 percent
7 /1/85

Deferred increase negotiated 6 /2 6 /8 4 (CWD Sept. 1984)

Union Employers Assn.
Chicago, IL
Graphic Communications— 1,000

17 percent
6 /1 /8 5

Automatic semiannual cost-of-living adjustment; see CWD Jan. 1985.

SOURCE: Bureau

of

Labor

S ta tistics,

C u rren t

W age

D e v e lo p m e n ts , July 1985.

79

Figure 9.2

PRELIMINARY

Table 1. Average (mean) wage and compensation (wage and benefit costs) adjustments in collective bargaining
settlements, 1984.
(in percent)

First-year
adjustment'

Annual
adjustment
over life of
contract2

Number of
workers
(000’s)

Wage adjustments in settlements covering 1,000
workers or more:
All industries ...................................................................................
Contracts with COLA clauses ...................................................
Contracts without COLA c la u s e s ..............................................
M a nufa cturing.................................................................................
Contracts with COLA clauses ...................................................
Contracts without COLA c la u s e s ...............................................
N onm anufacturing...........................................................................
Contracts with COLA clauses ...................................................
Contracts without COLA c la u s e s ...............................................
Construction ...................................................................................
Contracts with COLA clauses ...................................................
Contracts without COLA c la u s e s ...............................................
All industries excluding con structio n.............................................
Contracts with COLA clauses ...................................................
Contracts without COLA c la u s e s ...............................................
Nonmanufacturing excluding c o n s tru c tio n ..................................
Contracts with COLA clauses ...................................................
Contracts without COLA c la u s e s ...............................................

2.4
2.9
2.1
2.3
2.1
3.0
2.5
5.5
2.0
.5
4.0
.5
2.9
2.9
2.9
3.4
5.6
2.9

2.3
1.8
2.9
1.4
1.0
3.2
2.9
4.8
2.6
1.0
1.4
1.0
2.7
1.8
3.5
3.8
5.0
3.5

2,261
849
1,412
831
656
175
1,431
193
1,238
480
9
471
1,781
840
941
950
184
766

Compensation adjustments in settlements
covering 5,000 workers or more:
All industries ...................................................................................
Contracts with COLA clauses ...................................................
Contracts without COLA c la u s e s ...............................................
M a nufa cturing.................................................................................
Contracts with COLA clauses ...................................................
Contracts without COLA c la u s e s ...............................................
Nonm anufacturing...........................................................................
Contracts with COLA clauses ...................................................
Contracts without COLA c la u s e s ...............................................
Construction* .................................................................................
All industries excluding con structio n.............................................
Nonmanufacturing excluding c o n s tru c tio n ..................................

3.6
4.0
3.3
3.6
3.7
2.5
3.7
5.3
3.3
1.7
3.9
4.1

2.8
2.3
3.3
1.8
1.7
3.3
3.5
4.4
3.3
1.8
3.0
4.0

1,371
679
692
572
535
37
799
144
655
159
1,212
640

Measure

NOTE: Because of rounding, sums of individual employment items may not
equal totals.

1Change effective within first 12 months of contract term.
2Total adjustment over contract term expressed as an average annual
(compound) rate.
3 Data by COLA coverage for construction do not meet publication standards.

SOURCE: BLS news release, “Major Collective Bargaining Settlements
in Private Industry," USDL 85-28, January 24, 1985.

80

Figure 9.3
Table 2.

PRELIMINARY
First-year wage adjustments In collective bargaining settlements covering 1,000 workers or more, 1984
Percent of workers affected
Rate of adjustment'
All industries

Manufacturing

Nonmanufacturing

All settlements......................................................................................

100

100

100

No wage c h a n g e .............................................................................
Decreases2 ......................................................................................
Increases..........................................................................................

17
5
77

13
1
86

20
8
72

Under 2 percent...........................................................................
2 and under 4 p e rc e n t................................................................
4 and under 6 p e rc e n t................................................................
6 and under 8 p e rc e n t................................................................
8 percent and o v er.......................................................................

15
29
19
12
2

6
67
10
2
(3
)

20
8
24
17
4

Total number of workers (in thousands).............................................
Mean adjustment (percent)................................................................
Median adjustment (percent)..............................................................

2,261
2.4
2.2

831
2.3
2.2

1,431
2.5
2.7

Mean increase (percent..................................................................
Median increase (percent)..............................................................

3.8
2.9

2.7
2.2

4.5
5.0

Mean decrease (percent)................................................................
Median decrease (percen t)............................................................

-9 .6
-10.0

-10.9
-6.8

-9.6
-10.0

NOTE: Because of rounding, sums of individual employment items may not
equal totals.

1 Percent of estimated average hourly earnings, excluding overtime.
Presents changes in wages decided upon during the period and effective
within 12 months of the effective date of the agreement.
2 Distributions are not shown to protect confidentiality.
3 Less than 0.5 percent.

SOURCE: BLS news release, "Major Collective Bargaining Settlements
in Private Industry," USDL 85-28, January 24, 1985.

81

Figure 9.4
Table 10. Average effective wage adjustmente In collective bargaining agreements covering 1,000 workers or
more during 4-quarter periods
(in percent)
Four quarters ending
1982

1984

1983

IV

I

II

III

IV

I1

II1

III1

IV 2

6.8
1.7
3.6
1.4

6.3
1.3
3.5
1.5

5.5
1.2
3.1
1.3

4.3
.9
2.6
.8

4.0
.8
2.5
.6

4.7
1.2
2.5
1.0

4.3
1.0
2.2
1.1

4.2
.9
2.1
1.2

3.7
.7
2.0
.9

7.2
7.4
6.3
3.1

6.6
4.8
6.1
3.1

6.4
4.0
5.5
3.0

5.6
3.2
5.9
2.4

4.7
2.8
5.9
2.1

5.5
4.2
5.5
3.6

5.3
3.6
4.9
4.0

5.0
3.7
4.2
3.3

4.4
3.0
4.0
2.7

For all workers:
Total5 ...........................................................................
From current settlements ....................................
From prior agreements...........................................
From C O L A ..............................................................
For workers receiving adjustments:
Total .............................................................................
From current settlements......................................
From prior agreements...........................................
From C O L A ..............................................................

SOURCE: BLS news release, "Major Collective Bargaining Settlements
in Private Industry,” USDL 85-28, January 24, 1985.

1 Preliminary revised.
2 Preliminary.
3 Because of rounding, may not equal sum of parts.

82

Chapter 10. The Employee
Benefits Survey

limited to wages and salaries alone. In the 1970’s the
General Accounting Office and two Presidential review
groups recommended that the comparability system be
expanded to include benefits. In response to these
recommendations, the Office of Personnel Management
(opm) initiated its Total Compensation Comparability
(tcc) project. Computer models were developed which
determined the annual cost per employee to the Federal
Government—given the characteristics of its work
force—if it adopted the various benefit plans in private
industry. These costs could then be compared with ac­
tual Federal benefit costs.
Because of the Bureau’s long experience in studying
employee benefits, opm asked the Bureau to collect the
needed data on plan incidence and characteristics in
^private industry. The Bureau conducted a series of tests
to determine the feasibility of collecting and analyzing
the provisions of non-Federal benefits in sufficient
detail to meet the requirements of opm ’s cost estimating
models.
In 1979, the first full-scale test was conducted. The
survey, originally called the Level of Benefits Survey
and now called the Employee Benefits Survey, has been
conducted annually since the 1979 test. Although opm
no longer uses the cost estimating models developed for
the TCC project, ebs data are used by opm , other
government agencies, Congress, and the private sector
as a key source of information on the provisions of
benefit plans.

The growth in importance of supplementary benefits
over recent decades has increased the need for data on
their structure and coverage. In earlier years, paid
holidays and vacations, employer-provided health and
life insurance, pensions, and similar benefits were refer­
red to as “ fringe” benefits—minor appendages to the
wage structure. They now commonly account for a
fourth or more of employer outlays on worker
remuneration.
Several of the Bureau’s compensation surveys include
employee benefits. For example, area and industry wage
surveys report on the incidence of major benefits, and
the Employment Cost Index measures changes in total
compensation, including employers’ expenditures for
benefits. Only one Bureau program, the Employee
Benefits Survey (ebs), concentrates wholly on benefits.
This program provides a comprehensive body of data
on the percent of employees covered by major employee
benefits and also on the detailed provisions of the
benefit plans.
Background

Although the Bureau has studied the provisions of
employee benefit plans since the I920’s, the ebs is its
first comprehensive annual survey program in this area.
During the 1960’s and 1970’s, occasional studies of a par­
ticular type of benefit, such as health insurance or pen­
sion plans, were based on a sample of plans. In addi­
tion, every 3 or 4 years between 1956 and 1978, bls
published summaries of the major provisions of a
limited number of health, insurance, and pension plans
in Digest o f Selected Health and Insurance Plans and
Digest o f Selected Pension Plans.
The ebs was developed in the late 1970’s at the re­
quest of the U.S. Civil Service Commission (now the
Office of Personnel Management). The Federal Salary
Reform Act of 1962 and its successor, the Federal Pay
Comparability Act of 1970, provide for adjustments in
salaries of Federal white-collar employees to achieve
comparability with pay rates in private enterprises for
the same levels of work. The Bureau’s National Survey
of Professional, Administrative, Technical, and Clerical
Pay (patc) provides data on private industry salaries
used in administering this legislation (see chapter 2).
But the rapid growth of employee benefits has raised
questions about the validity of a comparability process

Survey scope and concepts

The survey collects information on employee benefits
of full-time workers in medium and large firms in most
private industries. Information is developed on
employee work schedules and the percent of employees
covered by, and detailed provisions of, 11 private sector
employee benefits paid for at least in part by the
employer: Paid lunch and rest periods, holidays, vaca­
tions, and personal and sick leave; sickness and acci­
dent, long-term disability, health, and life insurance;
and private retirement pension plans. Beginning with
the 1985 survey, detailed data also are collected on
stock, savings and thrift, and profit sharing plans, and
paid funeral, military, and jury-duty leave.
Data were collected each year between 1980 and 1985
on the percent of employees eligible for (but not the
83

Survey methods

details of) several “ secondary” benefits, including
severance pay, employee discounts, noncash bonuses,
cash bonuses not directly related to employee output
(nonproduction bonuses), relocation allowances,
recreation facilities, subsidized meals, educational
assistance, automobile parking, personal use of a
company-owned car, and an in-house infirmary. The
following items were added in 1985: Child care,
employer-sponsored reimbursement accounts, subsidized
commuting, supplemental unemployment benefits,
travel accident insurance, financial counseling, and
prepaid legal services.
Reflecting its origin (the pay comparability process
for Federal white-collar employees), the ebs has the
same scope as the Bureau’s patc survey. It covers
private sector establishments1 in the United States, ex­
cluding Alaska and Hawaii, employing at least 50, 100,
or 250 workers, depending on the industry. Industrial
coverage includes: Mining; construction; manufactur­
ing; transportation, communications, electric, gas, and
sanitary services; wholesale trade; retail trade; finance,
insurance, and real estate; and selected services. About
21 million workers in 45,000 establishments fall within
the survey’s scope. Data are collected separately for
th ree
o c c u p a tio n a l groups —p ro fe ssio n a ladministrative, technical-clerical, and production
workers.1
2
Respondents provide information on the number of
workers covered by specified benefit plans. Under wholly
employer-financed plans that require a minimum
amount of service prior to receiving benefits, workers
are counted as covered even if they have not met the
minimum service requirement at the time of the survey.
Under plans such as health or life insurance that require
an employee to pay part of the cost (contributory
plans), workers are counted only if they have elected the
plan and are paying their share of the cost. Data on in­
sured benefit plans and private retirement pension plans
are thus limited to “ participants.” Plans for which only
administrative costs are paid by the employer are not in­
cluded in the survey.
Data collection for the ebs begins in January and con­
tinues through July. Respondents are asked for infor­
mation as of the time of the data collection visit. The
data reflect an average reference period of March.

Data sources and collection methods. Data are collected
primarily by visits of Bureau field representatives to a
sample of establishments within the scope of the survey.
To reduce the reporting burden, respondents are asked
to provide documents describing their retirement plans,
capital accumulation plans, and plans covering the four
insured benefit areas surveyed (sickness and accident,
long-term disability, health, and life insurance). These
documents are analyzed by bls staff in Washington to
obtain the required data on plan provisions. Whenever
possible, the field representative also obtains the iden­
tification number for each plan filed with the Depart­
ment of Labor under the reporting requirements of the
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (erisa). If
plan documents are not available at the establishment or
are incomplete, the Bureau attempts to obtain the
necessary information from the erisa filings. (Because
of the time allowed officials for submitting updated
plan summaries, however, erisa material is usually not
as current as descriptions received from the establish­
ment.) Plans which are paid for in full by the employee
are not reported. Data on paid leave, other paid time
off, and secondary benefits generally are obtained
directly from the employer at the time of the visit.
Information obtained from respondents and plan
documents is entered on computer files. The data
resulting from the analysis and coding of plan
documents are not directly linked to a particular
establishment. Instead, three interactive databases are
created—one for establishment control data, another
for paid leave plan provisions, and a third for retire­
ment and insurance plan provisions. The control
database contains information on the establishments
surveyed, including: Number of employees, number of
plan participants, industry, geographic location, and
sampling weight.
The plan databases contain the provisions of each
plan for which information was obtained. Plan identi­
fication codes are such that a plan, once analyzed, need
not be analyzed again regardless of how many
establishments report it (e.g., a companywide health in­
surance program or a multiemployer pension plan).
Sampling and estimation procedures. The list of
establishments from which the sample is selected (called
the sampling frame) is the same as that used for the
patc survey. This sampling frame is developed by refin­
ing data from the most recently available State
Unemployment Insurance (ui) reports for 48 States
covered by the survey and the District of Columbia. The
refinement procedures include an effort to ensure that
sampling frame units correspond to the definition of an
establishment adopted for this survey.
To reduce the costs and resources required for data
collection, the ebs sample is a subsample of the patc

1 For this survey, an establishment is an economic unit(s) which pro­
duces goods or services, a central administrative office, or an auxiliary
unit providing support services to a company. In manufacturing in­
dustries, the establishment is usually a single physical location. In
nonmanufacturing industries, all locations o f an individual company
within a Metropolitan Statistical Area (M
SA), a Primary Metropolitan
Statistical Area (PM
SA), or a nonmetropolitan county are usually con­
sidered a single establishment.
2 As noted in chapter 2, beginning in 1986, coverage o f the PATC
survey will be expanded to include smaller establishments, additional
private industries, and the government sector. Related expansions are
planned for the EBS, although at a slower pace.

84

in medium and large firms covered by individual benefit
plans and the most important plan provisions.
Estimates are published for all employees combined and
separately for professional-administrative, technicalclerical, and production workers.
The benefit plan databases contain additional detailed
information for which estimates and tabulations are not
routinely developed by bls. These data are used for indepth analyses of specific aspects of employee benefits
that are occasionally published in Monthly Labor
Review articles (see references).
Employee benefit data collected during the annual
survey, including detailed provisions of plans and the
number of participants, are available on magnetic
tapes.4 In accordance with a pledge of confidentiality to
survey respondents, all information that could identify
a specific reporting establishment is removed. The tapes
may be used to derive national estimates, similar to
those presented in the bulletin, for those provisions in
the database that are not regularly tabulated by bls.
Percentages of covered workers in the tables published
in the annual bulletin are calculated in three ways. One
calculation shows the covered workers as a percent of all
workers within the scope of the survey—the incidence of
the benefit (see figure 10-1).
A second approach, illustrated by figures 10-2 and
10-3, shows the workers covered by specific features of
a benefit as a percent of all employees who participate in
that general benefit area. These tables answer questions
concerning typical coverages provided to persons with a
given insurance benefit or a private pension plan; for ex­
ample, what percent of all employees with health in­
surance receive dental coverage?
The third approach (figures 10-4 and 10-5) provides a
closeup look at an important feature of the plan; for ex­
ample, what percent of all employees with dental
coverage in their health insurance are covered for or­
thodontic work?

sample. It contains about 1,500 establishments and is
selected by first stratifying the sampling frame by broad
industry group and establishment size group based on
the total employment in the establishment.
The sample size allocated to each stratum (defined by
industry and size) is approximately proportional to the
total employment of all sampling frame establishments
in the stratum. Thus, a stratum which contains 1 percent
of the total employment within the scope of the survey
includes approximately 1 percent of the total sample.
The result of this allocation procedure is that each
stratum has a sampling fraction (the ratio of the number
of units in the sample to the number in the sampling
frame) which is proportionate to the average employ­
ment of the units in the stratum.
Two procedures are used to adjust for missing data
from partial reports and total refusals. First, imputa­
tions are made for the number of plan participants when
the number is not reported. Each of these participant
values is imputed by randomly selecting a similar plan
from another establishment in a similar industry and
size class. The participation rate from this plan is used
to approximate the number of participants for the plan
which is missing a participation value but is otherwise
usable. For other forms of missing data (or
nonresponse), an adjustment is made using a weight ad­
justment technique based on sample unit employment.
Standard errors have been calculated for about onethird of the estimates produced in a recent survey year
as part of a project to develop a generalized variance
formula. Results indicate that standard errors on
estimates of the percent of employees covered by a
specific benefit or detailed plan provision usually are
less than 2 percentage points, and seldom are over 4
percentage points. Further, standard errors for the
change in estimates between 1982 and 1983 were com­
puted for 216 estimating cells. Results indicate that
changes o f 3 percentage points or m ore are significant at

a high level of confidence for about nine-tenths of the
estimates; cells with bases of fewer than 1 million
employees are likely to have larger standard errors.
Sampling and estimating procedures are designed to
provide national data for all studied industries combined.
Survey findings do not yield reliable estimates for in­
dividual industries, geographic regions, or establish­
ment size classes.

Uses and limitations

Summary survey results are published in a news
release in the spring following the survey year, and a
bulletin with over 60 tables is published in late summer.3
These tables present estimates of the percent of workers

The extensive body of information on employee
benefits generated in this survey provides a unique data
resource. It is a major source of information for labor
and management representatives involved in contract
negotiations. Employers frequently seek information
permitting comparison of their benefit plans with
prevailing practices. Labor unions also use benefits data
to assess potential areas for increasing nonwage com­
pensation. Other users of the data are State and Federal
conciliators and mediators, public and private ar­
bitrators, Members of Congress and congressional staff
considering legislation affecting the welfare of workers,

The most recent bulletin is Employee Benefits in Medium and
Large Firms, 1984, Bulletin 2237, June 1985. The annual bulletins
contain a technical appendix describing survey methodology in greater
detail than is possible in this chapter.

4
The tapes may be purchased from the Office o f Wages and In­
dustrial Relations, Bureau o f Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C.
20212. They are available in 1600 and 6250 BPI, labeled and unlabel­
ed, with a blocking factor o f 12,800. Lists o f data items on the com­
puter files are available upon request.

Presentation of data

3

85

and governm ent officials responsible for
recommending legislation and reviewing proposed
legislation. For example, Congress and the Administra­
tion need data to evaluate the revenue implications of
the favorable tax treatment accorded many types of
benefits. Also, social welfare planners use data on
private benefit plans to assess the ability of employees to
provide for the current and future health and welfare
needs of themselves and their dependents.
In addition, b l s tabulations and analyses of employee
benefits can also be of use to teachers, students, and
others in the academic field; private consultants; re­
searchers; writers; and those not directly involved in
legislation or collective bargaining but concerned with
the development, status, and trends in employee
benefits.
Since data collection is limited to provisions of formal
plans, the extent of such benefits as rest periods and per­
sonal leave may be understated. Furthermore, the data
show the coverage of benefit plans but not the actual use
of these benefits; for example, that part of paid sick
leave actually taken.
Users of the e b s data should keep in mind that the
survey does not measure employer costs for benefits.5
Also, the current scope of the survey excludes small
firms—those with up to 50, 100, or 250 employees,
depending on the industry. Studies of employee benefits
that include all firms typically report lower participation
rates for most benefits. Also, reliable estimates can be
produced only at the national level, with no geographic
5 Surveys o f employer expenditures for employee compensation
were discontinued in 1977. These surveys measured outlays for in­
dividual elements o f compensation, including pay for leave and con­
tributions to private and public welfare and retirement plans. See

or industry detail. Data for selected industries are
available from industry wage surveys, and for selected
geographic regions, from area wage surveys. These occu­
pational wage surveys, which include some small firms,
provide data on paid holiday and vacation practices and
the incidence of welfare and pension plans, but not
detailed provisions of the benefits (see chapter 2).
Since data gathered in Bureau surveys are confiden­
tial, specific plan provisions cannot be published.6
However, details of benefits provided under large
negotiated agreements are published in Current Wage
Developments (see chapter 9) and are available in the
Bureau’s public-use file of negotiated contracts. Besides
small firms, the survey also excludes executive manage­
ment and traveling operating employees (such as airline
pilots), as well as part-time, temporary, and seasonal
employees. Alaska and Hawaii are not surveyed; neither
are the public sector and some industries such as
agriculture, education, and health services. The data,
therefore, do not statistically represent all employees in
the United States, or even all employees in private in­
dustry. Nevertheless, the survey provides the most ex­
tensive information available on the provisions of
employee benefits.
The e b s is designed to yield estimates of the percent
of employees with specific benefit provisions in the
survey year, not the change in plan provisions over time.
Some plan provisions are found mainly in one or two in­
dustries. When employment changes do not occur evenly
across industries, shifts in survey findings regarding
relative incidence of types of benefit plans may stem,
not from changes in plans, but from disproportionate
changes in the number of employees covered by dif­
ferent types of plans.

Employee Compensation in the Private Nonfarm Economy, 1977,
Summary 80-5 (Bureau o f Labor Statistics, 1980).
• The Digest o f Selected Health and Insurance Plans and the Digest
o f Selected Pension Plans, mentioned earlier, identified the plans
analyzed. The information, however, was obtained with the plan
sponsor’s consent for the specific purpose o f the publications.

Lois Marie Plunkert
Office of Wages
and Industrial Relations

86

References
Articles
The following, based on BLS Employee Benefits Survey data, were
published in the Monthly Labor Review:

Hedger, Douglas and Donald Schmitt. “ Trends in Major Medical
Coverage During a Period o f Rising C osts,” July 1983, pp. 11-16.
Schmitt, Donald G. “ Postretirement Increases Under Private Pension
Plans,” September 1984, pp. 3-8.

Bell, Donald R. and Avy Graham. “ Surviving Spouse’s Benefits in
Private Pension Plans,” April 1984, pp. 23-31.

Wiatrowski, William J. “ Employee Income Protection Against
Short-term Disabilities,” February 1985, pp. 32-38.

Bell, Donald R. and Diane Hill. “ How Social Security Payments A f­
fect Private Pensions,” May 1984, pp. 15-20.

Books and periodicals
Bell, Donald R. and William J. Wiatrowski. “ Disability Benefits for
Employees in Private Pension Plans,” August 1982, pp. 36-40.

Employee Benefit Plan Review. Published monthly by Charles D.

Blostin, Allan P. “ Is Employer-paid Life Insurance Declining
Relative to Other Benefits?” September 1981, pp. 31-33.

Fundamentals o f Employee Benefit Programs. Washington, D.C.

Blostin, Allan P. and William Marclay. “ HMO and Other Health
Plans: Coverage and Employee Premiums,” June 1983, pp. 28-33.

Rosenbloom, Jerry S., ed. The Handbook o f Employee Benefits:
Design, Funding and Administration. Homewood, Illinois: Dow
Jones-Irwin, 1984.

Spencer & Associates, Inc., Chicago, Illinois.

Employee Benefit Research Institute, 1985.

Frumkin, Robert N. and William J. Wiatrowski, “ Bureau o f Labor
Statistics Takes a New Look at Employee Benefits,” August 1982,
pp. 41-45.

87

Figure 10.1
Table 1. Summary: Percent of full-time employees by
participation1 in employee benefit programs, medium and
large firm s/ 1984
Profes­
sional
and
All em­
adminis­
ployees
trative
employ­
ees

Employee benefit program

Techni­
cal and Produc­
clerical tion em­
employ­ ployees
ees

Paid:
Holidays.........................................
Vacations ......................................
Personal leave..............................
Lunch period.................................
Rest tim e.......................................
Sick leave......................................

99
99
23
9
73
67

99
99
29
3
59
92

100
100
34
4
73
92

98
99
15
16
80
42

Sickness and accident insurance ....
Wholly employer financed...........
Partly employer financed ............

51
42
10

29
20
9

37
27
10

70
61
10

Long-term disability insurance..........
Wholly employer financed...........
Partly employer financed ............

47
35
11

67
47
20

58
42
16

30
26
5

Health insurance3 ...............................
Employee coverage:
Wholly employer financed...........
Partly employer financed ............
Family coverage:
Wholly employer financed...........
Partly employer financed ............

97

98

95

97

62
35

57
41

48
47

71
26

41
56

39
59

32
64

46
50

Life insurance.....................................
Wholly employer financed4 .........
Partly employer financed ............

96
81
15

97
80
17

95
78
17

96
83
t2

Retirement pension............................
Wholly employer financed4 .........
Partly employer financed ............

82
74
8

83
74
9

84
78
6

80
72
8

1 Participants are workers covered by a paid time off, insurance, or
pension plan. Employees subject to a minimum service requirement be­
fore they are eligible for a benefit are counted as participants even if they
have not met the requirement at the time of the survey. If employees are
required to pay part of the cost of a benefit, only those who elect the cov­
erage and pay their' share are counted as participants. Benefits for which
the employee must pay the full premium are outside the scope of the sur­
vey. Only current employees are counted as participants; retirees are ex­
cluded even if participating in a benefit program.
2 See appendix A for scope of study and definitions of occupational
groups.
3 Includes less than 0.5 percent of employees in plans that did not of­
fer family coverage.
4 Includes participants in noncontributory basic plans who may contrib­
ute to the cost of supplemental plans in these benefit areas. Supplemen­
tal plans are not tabulated in this bulletin.
NOTE: Because of rounding, sums of individual items may not equal to­
tals.

SOURCE: Employee Benefits in Medium and Large Firms, 1984, BLS
Bulletin 2237, June 1985.

88

Figure 10.2
Table 20. Health insurance: Percent of full-time participants by coverage for selected categories of medical care, medium
and large firms, 1984
Care provided
Category of medical care

Total

By basic
benefits only1

All

By major
medical only2

By basic
benefits and
major medical

Care not
provided

All participants
Hospital room and board.....................................
Hospitalization—miscellaneous services...........
Outpatient care4 ....................................................
Extended care facility5 .........................................
Home health care5 ...............................................
Surgical..................................................................
Physician visits—in hospital................................
Physician visits—office ........................................
Diagnostic X-ray and laboratory®........................
Prescription drugs— nonhospital.........................
Private-duty nursing..............................................
Mental health c a re ...............................................
Dental.....................................................................
Vision .....................................................................

100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100

100
100
100
62
46
100
100
96
100
98
96
99
77
30

17
16
12
24
22
32
12
6
25
14
6
10
72
26

28
29
27
28
16
29
49
83
42
81
89
28
5
4

100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100

100
100
100
66
48
100
100
99
100
98
99
100
79
26

16
15
9
22
20
31
11
7
23
12
7
8
74
21

32
33
30
31
18
33
58
88
49
82
91
31
5
5

100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100

100
100
100
63
47
100
100
99
100
97
99
99
75
26

16
14
10
18
18
32
11
7
23
11
7
8
70
21

54
54
60
11
9
39
38
7
33
3
1
61
0

(3)
(3
)
0
38
54
ft
ft
4
(3
)
2
4
1
23
70

Professional and administrative
Hospital room and board.....................................
Hospitalization—miscellaneous services...........
Outpatient care4 ....................................................
Extended care facility5 .........................................
Home health care5 ...............................................
Surgical..................................................................
Physician visits—in hospital................................
Physician visits—office ........................................
Diagnostic X-ray and laboratory6 ........................
Prescription drugs— nonhospital.........................
Private-duty nursing..............................................
Mental health c a re ...............................................
Dental.....................................................................
Vision .....................................................................

52
51
61
13
10
36
32
4
28
4
1
60
(3)

0

ft
ft

34
52
ft
ft
1
ft
2
1
ft
21
74

Technical and clerical
Hospital room and board.....................................
Hospitalization— miscellaneous services...........
Outpatient care4 ....................................................
Extended care facility5 .........................................
Home health care5 ...............................................
Surgical..................................................................
Physician visits—in hospital ................................
Physician visits—office ........................................
Diagnostic X-ray and laboratory®........................
Prescription drugs— nonhospital.........................
Private-duty nursing..............................................
Mental health c a re ...............................................
Dental.....................................................................
Vision .....................................................................
See footnotes at end of table.

89

32

33
31
31
18

33
56
87
48
84
89
32
5
5

51
52
59
13
11
35
32
5
29

3
2
60
(3
)

ft
ft
ft

37
53

ft
ft
ft

1

3

1
1
25
74

T a b le 20. H e a lth in su ran ce: P e rc e n t o f fu ll-tim e p a rtic ip a n ts by c o v e ra g e fo r s e le c te d c a te g o rie s o f m e d ic a l c a re , m e d iu m
an d la rg e firm s , 19 84— C o n tin u e d

Care provided
Category of medical care

Total
All

By basic
benefits only’

By major
medical only2

By basic
benefits and
major medical

Care not
provided

Production

Hospital room and board...................................
Hospitalization—miscellaneous services..........
Outpatient care4 .................................................
Extended care facility5 .......................................
Home health care5 ............................................
Surgical...............................................................
Physician visits—in hospital ..............................
Physician visits— office ......................................
Diagnostic X-ray and laboratory6 .......................
Prescription drugs—nonhospital........................
Private-duty nursing............................................
Mental health care ............................................
Dental.................................................................
Vision .................................................................

100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100

100
100
100
60
44
100
100
94
100
98
93
99
76
33

18
18
16
27
24
32
14
5
27
17
5
13
71
30

25
25
24
24
13
25
42
79
36
79
87
25
5
3

57
57
60
9
7
43
44
9
37
2
1
62
-

(3
)

0
(3)
0
40
56
<)
3
O
6

O
2
7
1
24
67

categories of care.
3 Less than 0.5 percent.
4 Coverage for any of the following services charged by the out­
patient department of the hospital: Treatment for accidental injury or
emergency sickness; surgical procedures; rehabilitative or physical
therapy; and treatment for chronic illness (radiation therapy, etc.).
5 Some plans provide this care only to a patient who was previously
hospitalized and is recovering without need of the extensive care pro­
vided by a general hospital.
6 Charges incurred in the outpatient department of a hospital and
outside of the hospital.

1 A provision was classified as a basic benefit when it related to the
initial expenses incurred for a specific medical service. Under these pro­
visions, a plan paid covered expenses in one of several ways: (1) In
full with no limitation; (2) in full for a specified period of time, or until a
dollar limit was reached; or (3) a cash scheduled allowance benefit that
provided up to a dollar amount for a service performed by a hospital or
physician. For a specific category of care, a plan may require the par­
ticipant to pay a specific amount each disability or year (deductible) or a
nominal charge each visit or procedure (copayment) before reimburse­
ment begins or services are rendered.
2 Major medical benefits cover many categories of expenses, some
of which are not covered under basic benefits, and others for which ba­
sic coverage limits have been exhausted. These benefits are character­
ized by deductible and coinsurance provisions that are applied across

NOTE: Because of rounding, sums of individual items may not equal
totals. Dash indicates no employees in this category.
SOURCE: Employee Benefits In Medium and Large Firms, 1984, BLS
Bulletin 2237, June 1985.

90

Figure 10.3
Table 47. Private peneion plane:' Percent of full-time participants by minimum age and aseoclated service requirements for
normal retirement,* medium and large firms, 1984

Age and service requirements3

All par­
ticipants

Profes­
sional Technical
Produc­
and ad­ and cleri­
tion par­
ministra­ cal par­
ticipants
tive par­ ticipants
ticipants

T o ta l.......................................

100

100

100

No age requirement......................
Less than 30 years’ service ....
30 years’ service.....................
More than 30 years’ service ...

17
1
16
0

9
1
7
1

9
1
8
(4
)

Less than age 55 ..........................
30 years’ service .....................

(4
)
0

Age 55 ............................................
5 or 10 years’ service.............
20 years’ service.....................
30 years’ service.....................
More than 30 years’ service ...

(4)
O

5
1
2
2
0

8
2
5
1
0

(4)

Age 56-59 .......................................
15 or 20 years' service...........
More than 30 years’ service ...

1
1
1

Age 60 ............................................
No service requirement..........
1-4 years’ service....................
5 years' service .......................
10 years' service.....................
11-14 years’ service................
15 years’ service.....................
20 years' service.....................
25 years’ service.....................
30 years’ service.....................
More than 30 years’ service ...

13
3
0
2
2
(4)
1
1
(4)
3
1

4
1
2
1

1
1

4
(4)
(4)
3
O

1

2
1
1

(4)
(4)

18
4
(4
)
3
3

15
3
O
2
3

(4
)
2
(4
)
0
5
1

O
1
(4)
(4)
4
1

(4)
(4)
(4)

Age 62 ............................................
No service requirement..........
1-4 years' service....................
5 years' service .......................
6-9 years’ service....................
10 years’ service.....................
11-14 years’ service................
15 years' service.....................
20 years' service.....................
25 years' service.....................
30 years' service.....................
More than 30 years' service ...

25
0
24
1

All par­
ticipants

Age 61 ............................................
No service requirement ..........
20 years' service.....................

100

Age and service requirements3

17
4
O
1

Profes­
sional Technical
Produc­
and ad­ and cleri­
tion par­
ministra­ cal par­
ticipants
tive par­ ticipants
ticipants

(4)
(4
)
(4)

(4
)
(4)

(*)

(4)
7
(4)
1
1
1
1
(4
)

18
5
(4)
1
(4
)
7
(4
)
1
(4)
1
2
(4)

1

1

(4
)
(4
)
(4
)

18
6
(4)
1

16
4
(4
)
(4
)

5
(4)
1
1
1
2
(4)

8
(4
)
1
1
1
1
1

(4)
(4
)

Age 63-64 ...................................... ,
No service requirement..........
10 years’ service.....................

0
3
(4
>

' Excludes supplemental pension plans.
* Normal retirement is defined as the point at which the participant
could retire and immediately receive all accrued benefits by virtue of
service and earnings, without reduction due to age.
3
If a plan had alternative age and service requirements, the earliest
age and associated service were tabulated; if one alternative did not

1

37
33
O
1
3

32
30

39
36

1
2

1
2

Sum of age plus service...............
Equals less than 8 0 ................
Equals 8 0 ..................................
Equals 8 5 ..................................
Equals 86-89 ............................
Equals 90 or more ..................

(4)
O
2
(*)
(4)
1

1

3
<)
4
3

Age 65 ............................................
No service requirement..........
1-4 years' service....................
5 years’ service.......................
10 years' service.....................

9
3

(4
)

9
2
1
4
(4)
2

14
2
1
7
(4
)
3

11
2
1
4
1
4

(4)

1

38
33
(4
)
1
4
6
1
(4
)
3
-

1

specify an age, it was the requirement tabulated.
4 Less than 0.5 percent.
NOTE: Because of rounding, sums of individual items may not equal
totals. Dash indicates no employees in this category.
SOURCE: Employee Benefits in Medium and Large Firms, 1984, BLS
Bulletin 2237, June 1985.

91

Figure 10.4
Table 26. Health insurance: Percent of full-time participants in plans with dental benefits by extent of coverage for
selected procedures, medium and large firms, 1984

Type of dental procedure

Sched­
Incen- Subuled
tive ject to
cash
Total
sched­ copay­
allow­
Total
ule'
ment1
ance

Percent of usual, customary, and reasonable charge

50

60

82
82
71
71
70
70
70
59

ft
ft
4
5
7
39
39
51

ft
ft

79
79
68
68
68
68
68
58

1
1
3
4
7
41
41
49

ft
ft

83
83
71
71
69
71
70
56

1
1
4
4
7
43
43
48

ft

83
83
72
72
72
71
71
62

ft
ft
6
6
7
36
36
53

61-74

75

80

85

1
1
2
2
1
2
2
1

2
2
5
5
5
1
1
ft

24
27
42
41
40
13
12
2

1
2
2
2
2
2
2
1

3
3
5
5
4
2
2
ft

22
26
45
45
43
12
11
2

1
1
5
4
4
1
1
ft

29
32
49
49
45
13
12
2

23
25
36
36
36
13
13
1

100

1
6
6
6
6
6
6
ft

_
ft

53
41
5
5
4
2
2
1

1
3
3
3
3
3
3

_

ft

2
2
6
6
6
1
1
ft

91-99

ft

1
2
2
3
2
3
3
1

90

Not
cov­
ered

All participants
Examinations.......................
Dental X-rays.......................
Fillings ..................................
Dental surgery.....................
Periodontal c a re ..................
Inlays....................................
Crowns .................................
Orthodontia..........................

100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100

16
16
27
26
27
27
27
12

100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100

19
20
30
29
30
30
30
16

100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100

14
15
27
26
27
27
27
14

2
2
2
2
2
ft
1
-

100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100

15
15
26
25
25
26
26
10

2
2
2
2
2
1
1

2
2
2
2
2
1
1
-

ft

ft
ft

ft
ft
I1
3
2
)
1
1

1
1
1
5
5
3

1
4
5
4
5
3
3
1

ft
ft

ft
1
1
2
1
28

Professional and
administrative
Examinations .......................
Dental X-rays.......................
Fillings ..................................
Dental surgery.....................
Periodontal c a re ..................
Inlays ....................................
Crowns.................................
Orthodontia..........................

2
2
2
1
1

ft

ft
ft
ft
ft
ft

ft
1
1

ft
-

1
1
1
6
6
4

1
3
3
3
1
1
1

ft

-

51
43
5
5
4
2
2
1

ft
ft
ft

49
42
4
4
5
1
1 "
ft

ft

56
40
6
7
4
2
2
1

ft
ft
ft

1
1
1
1
25

Technical and clerical
Examinations.......................
Dental X-rays.......................
Fillings ..................................
Dental surgery.....................
Periodontal c a re ..................
Inlays ....................................
Crowns .................................
Orthodontia..........................

ft

ft
ft

1
1

ft
1
1

ft
1
1
1
6
6
3

1
3
3
3
3
3
3

_
-

1
3
3
3
1
1
1

-

ft

1
6
7
6
7
5
5
1

1
10
10
10
10
9
9
ft

_

-

-

ft
ft
1
1
2
1
29

Production
Examinations.......................
Dental X-rays.......................
Fillings ..................................
Dental surgery.....................
Periodontal c a re ..................
Inlays....................................
Crowns .................................
Orthodontia..........................

-

ft
ft
ft
ft
ft
ft
ft
1

1 Reimbursement arrangement in which the percentage of dental
expenses paid by the plan increases if regular dental appointments
are scheduled.
2 Participant pays a specific amount per procedure and plan pays
all remaining expenses.

ft

ft
1
1
1
4
4
3

ft
1
1
1
1
1
1
2

-

ft

1
1
2
2
28

3 Less than 0.5 percent.
NOTE: Because of rounding, sums of individual items may not
equal totals. Dash indicates no employees in this category.

SOURCE: Employee Benefits In Medium and Large Firms, 1984,
BLS Bulletin 2237, June 1985.

92

Figure 10.5
Table 36. Life Ineurance: Percent o f full-tim e p a rticip an t* in plane with m ultiple-of-eam inga fo rm u la * by
am ount o f baaic Insurance and maximum coverage provision*, m edium and large firm s, 1984

Formula

Total

In plans with maximum coverage

In plans
without
maximum
coverage

All

Less than
$50,000

$50,000$99,999

$100,000$249,999

$250,000 or
more

All participants
Total..........................................

100

50

50

Life insurance is equal to annual
earnings times:1
Less than 1 .0 ..................................
1.0...................................................
1.1-1.4 .............................................
1.5...................................................
1.6-1.9 .............................................
2 .0 ...................................................
2 .5 ...................................................
2.6-2.9 .............................................
3 .0 ...................................................
More than 3 .0 ..................................
Multiple varying with earnings........

3
41
1
10
ft
37
3
ft
2
1
1

1
24
1
3
18
1
1
1
1

2
17
(2
)
7
ft
20
2
ft
2
ft
1

Total..........................................

100

50

50

Life insurance is equal to annual
earnings times:’
Less than 1 .0 ..................................
1.0...................................................
1.1-1.4 .............................................
1 .5 ...................................................
1.6-1.9 .............................................
2 .0 ...................................................
2 .5 ...................................................
2.6-2 9 .............................................
3 .0 ...................................................
More than 3 .0 ..................................
Multiple varying with earnings........

2
38
1
10
ft
41
3
(2
)
2
1
2

1
21
1
3
19
2
1
1
1

1
17
6
ft
22
1
ft
2
ft
1

Total..........................................

100

50

50

Life insurance is equal to annual
earnings times:1
Less than 1.0 ..................................
1 .0 ...................................................
1.1-1.4.............................................
1 .5 ...................................................
1.6-1.9 .............................................
2 .0 ...................................................
2 .5 ...................................................
2.6-2.9 .............................................
3 .0 ...................................................
More than 3 .0 .................................
Multiple varying with earnings........

2
42
1
9
ft
37
3
ft
3
1
1

1
25
1
2
16
2
1
1
ft

ft
17
ft
7
ft
21
1
ft
2
ft
1

Total..........................................

100

51

49

Life insurance is equal to annual
earnings times:1
Less than 1.0 .................................
1 .0 ...................................................
1.1-1.4 .............................................
1 .5 ...................................................
2 .0 ...................................................
2 .5 ...................................................
2.6-2 9 .............................................
3 .0 ...................................................
More than 3 .0 .................................
Multiple varying with earnings........

5
44
1
11
33
3
1
1
ft
1

1
27
1
2
19
1

4
18

8

ft

20

3

3

1
9

ft
2
-

ft
ft
ft
ft

1
2
1
ft
ft
ft

-

20

1

3
2
12
1
1
ft
ft

18

22

4
5
ft
ft
ft

Professional and administrative
8

3

ft

ft

ft
-

-

1
2
ft
ft
ft
ft

3
6
ft
ft
ft
ft

4
2
14
1
1
ft
ft

8

19

21

2
ft
ft
ft
-

8

3

Technical and clerical
2

ft

ft

ft

1

4
2
14
1
1
ft
ft

8

23

15

3

4
10

1
ft
ft
ft
I2
)
-

3
1
3
1
ft
ft

9
4
5
ft
ft

ft

Production

-

8
14
2
1
1
ft
1

-

ft
ft

1 When the multiple-of-earnings formula varied with age, the
maximum multiple was tabulated. A few plans varied the multiple-of-earnings formula according to service; in these cases, a
participant was assum ed to have 15 years of service.

3

1
2

ft
-

_

1

2
1
1
1

ft

_
-

-

-

-

2
-

3
4
-

_

-

-

-

2
8
1

_

1

I2
)
ft
1

2 Less than 0.5 percent,
NOTE: B ecause of rounding, sums of individual items may
not equal totals. Dash indicates no employees in this category.

SOURCE: Employee Benefits in Medium and Large Firms,
1984, BLS Bulletin 2237, June 1985.

93

Appendix A. Selected Compensation
Series Published by Agencies Other
Than the Bureau of Labor Statistics

and professional associations collect data on wages and
earnings. Although the information is usually available
to members only, some organizations publish re­
ports th at may be purchased by anyone.
Among these are associations such as The Conference
Board, the Chamber of Commerce of the U.S., and the
American Compensation Association. These three
groups do not include all possibilities; to cite all would
require a much more comprehensive review.

In addition to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, other
Federal agencies collect and publish data on employee
compensation. This appendix describes the contents of
selected publications prepared outside the BLS, arranged
by agency.1With few exceptions, the publications contain
primary data collected by the issuing agency.
Appendix table 1 provides an overview of this non-BLS
data collection and dissemination.
The number and scope of the publications vary con­
siderably, depending on the primary mission of the issu­
ing agency. For example, as a general-purpose statistical
agency, the Bureau of the Census provides a wide variety
of broad-based series applying to households, families,
and individuals, as well as governmental units and
private establishments. In comparison, the Social
Security Administration, whose primary concern is the
administration of various income maintenance pro­
grams, generates data closely related to its operations.
Regulatory agencies, such as the Interstate Commerce
Commission, produce compensation statistics as
byproducts of their statutory responsibilities. In con­
trast to all of the above, the Bureau of Economic
Analysis, as an analytical and research agency, does not
collect primary data, but compiles and interprets
series—including compensation data—obtained from
other sources. Types of data vary as well and, depend­
ing on the agency, range from average wage rates of
workers to aggregate personal income in the United
States.
While output of Federal agencies other than the bls
dominates this appendix, compensation-related data are
issued by many State government agencies. Examples of
reports provided by two States, New York and Califor­
nia, are given at the end of this appendix. Many trade

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Two bureaus within the Department of Commerce
were chosen for special mention—the Bureau of the
Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis—both of
which publish data on components of compensation,
although the underlying concepts and data sources dif­
fer greatly.
Bureau of the Census

This agency not only takes censuses of persons,
families, and households, but also of establishments in
various sectors of the economy. In addition, enumera­
tions are made of political units at the State and local
levels. And each year, intercensal information is col­
lected from samples of participants in selected censuses.
Population surveys. Income statistics collected in the
most recent (1980) decennial population census are
reported in Volume 1, Characteristics o f the Popula­
tion. This volume is divided into four chapters, each
containing a national summary and data for the in­
dividual States. Chapter C, “ General Social and
Economic Characteristics,” includes 1979 annual
money income (distributions by income class and
means) and poverty status of persons, households, and
families, cross-tabulated by such characteristics as race,
age, and sex. The data are shown for metropolitan
statistical areas, counties, and other geographic divi­
sions. Chapter D, “ Detailed Population Char­
acteristics,” contains greater detail than chapter C on
social, demographic, and economic characteristics of
the population. Income and earnings statistics for 1979
are shown by such characteristics as age, race, sex, labor

1 This appendix is not intended to be comprehensive. For wider
coverage, see American Statistics Index, a comprehensive guide and
index to the statistical publications o f the U.S. Government (2
volumes); and Statistical Reference Index, a selective guide to
American statistical publications from private organizations and State
government sources (2 volumes). These two publications are issued
annually by the Congressional Information Service, Washington,
D.C.
Another bibliographic resource is Statistics Sources, a subject guide
to data on industrial, business, social, educational, financial, and
other topics for the United States and internationally, published
irregularly by Gale Research C o., Detroit, Mich.

94

force status, and education. Summary measures such as
mean annual income, mean annual earnings, and mean
weekly earnings are given.
In addition to the decennial census, the Census
Bureau collects and publishes separate series of reports
that are released under the general title, Current
Population Reports. Two of these, Series P-60 and
Series P-70, emphasize income and related information.
Series P-60, Consumer Income, is a continuing series
of periodic and special reports presenting nationwide
and regional data on annual money income as related to
socioeconomic characteristics of persons, families, and
households. Reports contain income summary measures
such as means and medians. The data come from
answers to questions on income asked each March in the
Current Population Survey.2
Included in the P-60 series are periodic reports such as
“ Money Income of Households, Families, and Persons
in the United States;” “ Money Income and Poverty
Status of Families and Persons in the United States;”
and “ Characteristics of Households and Persons
Receiving Selected Noncash Benefits.” Tables typically
relate income to socioeconomic features such as race,
age, education, occupation, and work experience. The
noncash benefits covered in the third report include
those provided by government, such as food stamps,
school lunches, subsidized housing, and Medicaid. In­
formation is provided as well on workers who received
benefits under employer- or union-provided pension and
group health plans.3
Among special reports in the P-60 Series is “ Lifetime
Earnings Estimates for Men and Women in the U.S.:
1979. ” This report provides estimates by age and educa­
tional attainment under alternative real interest and pro­
ductivity increase rates. The estimates are based on an
average of 1978-80 income data from the March 1979,
1980, and 1981 Current Population Surveys.
Series P-70, Household Economic Studies, is a new
series of quarterly reports that began with the third
quarter of 1983.4 Included in the reports are tabulations
showing the relation between selected personal and
employment characteristics of persons and households
and average monthly cash income and participation in
means-tested income maintenance programs.

2 See chapter 4 o f this bulletin, “ Earnings Statistics from the Current
Population Survey,” for a description o f the CPS and its uses by BLS.
Other agencies, such as the Social Security Administration and the
Economic Research Service, also report on demographic and
economic data collected in the CPS.
3 A historical and analytical summary o f income data collected by the
CPS appears in Technical Paper 17, Trends in the Income o f Families
and Persons in the United States: 1947 to 1964, published by the
Bureau of the Census in 1967. An update to this paper is planned for
1986.
4 See John E. Bregger and Paul M. Ryscavage, “ New Household
Survey and the CPS: A Look at Labor Force Differences,” Monthly
Labor Review, September 1985, pp. 3-12.

The P-70 reports are derived from the Survey of In­
come and Program Participation ( s i p p ) , a panel study
designed to obtain data from each household in the
sample at 4-month intervals over a period of 2Vi years.
Each year a new panel is scheduled to be introduced so
that cross-sectional estimates can be made, based on a
larger sample size. The overlapping design also
enhances the survey’s ability to measure change over
time. The information collected by s i p p is expected to
provide a better understanding of the level and change
in the well-being of the population and of how
economic situations are related to the demogaphic and
social characteristics of individuals.
Establishment surveys. Censuses of establishments in
selected economic divisions of the economy are con­
ducted by the Census Bureau, generally at 5-year inter­
vals.5 To facilitate collection and reporting procedures,
establishments are classified into industries on the basis
of their principal product or activity in accordance with
the Standard Industrial Classification Manual, published
by the Office of Management and Budget. The structure
of the classification system makes it possible to
tabulate, analyze, and publish establishment data on a
division, a 2-digit, a 3-digit, or a 4-digit industry code
basis, according to the level of industrial detail con­
sidered most appropriate. Additional subdivisions
within the specific 4-digit industries may be adopted.
The censuses for the current (1982) series include
Agriculture, Construction, Manufactures, Minerals,
Retail Trade, Selected Service Industries, and Wholesale
Trade. These enumerations provide, in addition
to financial data, payroll and employment totals broken
out by appropriate classifications. The contents of
reports vary, depending on the nature of the sector and
the complexity of the data collected. For example, the
Census o f Manufactures presents aggregate payroll data
and number of employees and shows separately total
production workers, their total wages, and their total
hours.
In addition to quinquennial censuses, the Bureau col­
lects and publishes annually survey results for manufac­
turing, retail trade, and wholesale trade. In addition to
aggregate payroll and employment data, the Annual
Survey o f Manufactures collects supplemental labor
costs categorized by employer expenditures on legally
required benefits, including Social Security, and
payments for voluntary programs.
5 The Census Bureau defines an establishment as a single physical
location engaged in a specific line o f business. An establishment is not
necessarily identical with the enterprise or company, which may con­
sist o f one or more establishments. A Standard Enterprise Industrial
Classification system has been developed for use in classifying enter­
prises. An example o f enterprise reports produced by Census is Enter­
prise Statistics: A General Report on Industrial Organization, which is
issued every 5 years.

95

Government surveys. A census is taken every 5 years of
State and local governments to collect data on total
employees and aggregate payrolls. To provide informa­
tion to update the census, the Annual Survey o f State
and Local Governments is conducted of all States and a
sample of local governments. Employment and payroll
tables show data by function (education, highways,
police and fire protection, etc.) and level of govern­
ment.

D E P A R T M E N T O F A G R IC U L T U R E

The data collecting and publishing agency at the
Department of Agriculture is the Statistical Reporting
Service ( s r s ). Another agency, the Economic Research
Service ( e r s ) , issues reports on aspects of the farm sec­
tor, using data gathered for it. While the bulk of reports
emphasize commodities, livestock, and food consump­
tion, the following contain wage rates, income, and
benefits data.

Other reports. County Business Patterns is a
multivolume annual publication of the Census Bureau.
The report contains number of employees and
establishments (total and establishment-size class), and
total payrolls (first quarter and annual) organized by
Standard Industrial Classification codes. Information
for the United States as a whole, States, and
metropolitan statistical areas is shown separately.

S t a t i s t ic a l R e p o r t in g S e r v ic e

Data on self-employed, unpaid, and hired farm
workers, derived from a survey of farm operators, are
published quarterly in Farm Labor.6 This report con­
tains information on the number of employees, average
hours worked per week, wage rates per hour, and
methods of pay. State and regional data are shown. Per­
quisites such as room and board are given; and an index
of change in farm wage rates is included. Total farm
operator expenditures for life and health insurance,
pensions, and Social Security are provided.7

T h e B u r e a u o f E c o n o m ic A n a ly s is (b e a )

Unlike the Census Bureau, bea conducts no censuses
or surveys. Its major function is the production of na­
tional income and product accounts based on records
and data collected by various Federal agencies and ap­
proximately 60 nongovernmental organizations.
The primary vehicle for bea output is the Survey o f
Current Business, a comprehensive monthly report on
economic conditions and business activity. Reported
each month are selected national income and product
accounts and current business statistics. Among the
items are aggregate personal income by source (wages,
rents, dividends, etc.) and disposition (personal tax
payments, consumption expenditures, and savings).
Specified issues of the Survey carry quarterly estimates
of State personal income and annual estimates for
metropolitan statistical areas and counties.
A biennial supplement to the Survey, titled Business
Statistics, contains historical tables with titles that closely
follow those in the Survey. It also provides descriptions
and sources for earlier figures.
Greater detail on personal income can be found in
Local Area Personal Income, an annual report on total
personal income by source, and labor and proprietors’
income by industry division and place of work. Data are
shown for States, metropolitan statistical areas, and
counties.
Every 5 years, bea prepares a set of demographic and
economic projections and publishes them in Regional
Projections, the most recent edition of which appeared
in 1985. Among the estimates are projections of per­
sonal income by source, and aggregate earnings and
employment for 57 industrial sectors, separately for the
Nation and States. The projections for metropolitan
statistical areas are less detailed. Using different
assumptions about likely growth, bea analysts provide
alternative scenarios.

E c o n o m ic R e s e a r c h S e r v ic e

This agency issues a biennial report—Hired Farm
Working Force—which includes data on total earnings
(total annual and annual farm) of persons hired to do
farm work. Unlike reports based on Statistical Report­
ing Service surveys, this publication uses information
gathered every other December by the Census Bureau
from households included in the Current Population
Survey." In 1985, e r s broadened the scope of its
study to include all agricultural workers—selfemployed, unpaid, and hired. Unpaid workers include
family members doing farm work without pay. Selfemployed generally are equated with farm operators.
Occasionally, the Economic Research Service
prepares special reports that focus on income or com­
pensation. For example, in 1982, a report, Indirect
Farm Labor and Management Costs, examined the ef­
fect of mandatory and voluntary employee benefits on
farm labor costs and farm ownership.
D EPARTM ENT O F HEALTH A ND H UM A N
S E R V IC E S
S o c i a l S e c u r i t y A d m i n i s t r a t i o n (s s a )

The Office of Research, Statistics, and International
* Quarterly reports were published until 1982, when annual reports
began. A quarterly reporting schedule was resumed in October 1984.
7 In 1983, SRS issued a special supplement to Farm Labor showing
historical data on farm wage rates for 1974-82. In the same year, as an
aid to data users, SRS published a revised edition o f its handbook,

Scope and Methods o f the Statistical Reporting SeriVce.
8 The Census Bureau asks households included in the CPS whether
any member earned money from farm work during the year. Those
who answer “ yes” are asked questions designed to profile farm
workers.

%

fo r the United States, which contains tables showing
number of personnel and payroll outlays for uniformed
personnel on active duty, civilian employees, and
members of the Reserve and National Guard. Also in­
cluded are the number of retirees and aggregate pension
payments.

Policy of s s a produces a flow of reports based on data
files that are maintained for the administration of the
agency’s programs. These programs include Old-Age,
Survivors, and Disability Insurance (Social Security),
Supplemental Security Income (ssi), Aid to Families
with Dependent Children ( a f d c ) , and Child Support
Enforcement. The Office of Research also conducts
surveys to collect information not in these records in order
to evaluate selected features of the various programs.
The primary publication of the SSA is the monthly
Social Security Bulletin. It regularly contains tables of
current operating statistics that show cash benefit
payments under public income-maintenance programs.
Quarterly statistics supplement monthly data and in­
clude tables giving average monthly cash benefits by sex
and other demographic characteristics.
In addition to statistical data, the Bulletin contains
articles on special surveys or which analyze aspects of
the Administration’s programs. For example, findings
of the New Beneficiary Survey that examines
characteristics and sources of income of recent retirees
have appeared in the Bulletin. The Office of Research,
Statistics, and International Policy also publishes its
work in individual research reports and staff papers.
SSA data appear in greater detail in the Annual
Statistical Supplement to the Bulletin, which provides
historical information from the start of programs.
These data are based on information from SSA, Com­
merce Department, Treasury Department, and other
Federal, State, and local agencies. The Supplement has
sections reporting on workers with taxable earnings,
beneficiaries and benefits, and the poor by broad age
groups and sources of income. Detailed information is
provided for all programs administered by s s a .
Every other year, s s a issues Income o f the Population
55 and Over based on data collected in the March CPS. It
contains data on total income and income by source of
married couples and ummarried persons aged 55 and
over by such characteristics as poverty status, age, and
race. Income sources include earnings, Social Security
benefits, government and private pensions, income
from assets, veterans’ benefits, unemployment and
workers’ compensation, and others.

D E P A R T M E N T O F E D U C A T IO N

The National Center for Education Statistics issues an
annual report, College Faculty Salaries, which presents
estimates of average salaries and fringe benefits for
higher education faculty. Regional, State, and other
geographic details are given. The data are obtained
from the Higher Education General Information Survey
of educational institutions, including U.S. service
schools.
The Center also publishes annually the Digest o f
Education Statistics. Included in the Digest are tables
of average annual salaries of instructional staff in public
elementary and secondary schools. The data are col­
lected through a survey of State education agencies. The
Digest also shows the average beginning monthly
salaries of college and university graduates by degree
and by broad fields of specialty (social sciences,
humanities, etc.). This is derived from information
made available by the College Placement Council. (The
Council is a private association that provides informa­
tion to career planning and placement directors at 2-and
4-year colleges and universities, as well as to employers
who hire graduates.)
DEPARTM ENT OF ENERGY

The Office of Industrial Relations publishes the
Report on National Survey o f Compensation Paid
Scientists and Engineers Engaged in Research and
Development Activities. Prepared by the Battelle
Memorial Institute, Columbus Laboratories, this an­
nual report focuses on the relation of age and experience
to level of annual earnings. It is based on a survey of
employees and employers at five types of
establishments: Nonprofit research institutes, educa­
tional institutions, federally funded contract r &d
centers, Federal establishments, and industry.

H e a lt h C a r e F in a n c in g A d m in is tr a tio n (h c f a )

The Office of Research and Demonstrations of h c f a
publishes a quarterly journal, Health Care Financing
Review, which reports on programs administered by
HCFA, including Medicare and Federal participation in
Medicaid. The journal also carries articles on employee
health insurance benefits.

N A T IO N A L S C IE N C E F O U N D A T IO N (N S F )

More comprehensive information on the income of
scientists and engineers is published by the National
Science Foundation in two biennial reports. One,
Characteristics o f Doctoral Scientists and Engineers in
the U.S., provides data on median annual earnings, and
demographic and employment characteristics. The in­
formation is obtained by the National Academy of
Sciences for the n s f from a stratified sample of scien­

DEPARTM ENT OF DEFENSE

The Directorate of Information, Operations, and
Reports annually publishes Atlas /State Data Abstracts
97

average salary statistics by pay system and geographic
area of full-time Federal civilian employees by agency.
Excluded are employees of the Central Intelligence
Agency, the National Security Agency, and the Judicial
Branch (except the Administrative Office of the U.S.
Courts). Every other year, o p m publishes Affirmative
Employment Statistics which shows for the Federal sec­
tor salary by race, national origin, agency, pay plan,
and grade.
O ccupational earnings levels by selected
characteristics can be found in Occupations o f Federal
White-Collar and Blue-Collar Workers, a biennial
report on Federal full-time civilian white- and bluecollar employees. This report provides information on
occupation, agency, pay system, grade, salary, super­
visory status, sex, and major geographic area.
O p m also maintains a computer data base of all col­
lective bargaining agreements covering Federal workers,
together with third-party agreements growing out of
these contracts. Called the Labor Agreements Informa­
tion Retrieval System ( l a i r s ) , the collection of informa­
tion excludes quasi-governmental agencies such as the
Postal Service or the Railroad Retirement Board. While
Federal contracts exclude wage bargains, some benefits
may be specified.

tists and engineers. A companion study, Characteristics
o f Recent Science and Engineering Graduates, gives
similar data for recent graduates.
D E P A R T M E N T O F T R A N S P O R T A T IO N

Although the Maritime Administration no longer
publishes Seafaring Wage Rates, current data on
monthly base rates paid to licensed and unlicensed per­
sonnel employed on board oceangoing U.S. flag ships
are available in its files. Rates are available by occupa­
tion and type of ship. A chronology of employer con­
tributions per day to pension, welfare, and vacation
plans is also maintained. The files are compiled from
records of the Maritime Administration, labormanagement agreements, arbitrators’ awards, trustees’
actions, and pension, welfare, and vacation plans.
DEPARTM ENT O F THE TREASURY

The Internal Revenue Service publishes Statistics o f
Income: Individual Income Tax Returns, an annual
study of a stratified sample (by State) of unaudited in­
dividual income tax returns. Presented are aggregate
data on total adjusted gross income (by income class),
taxable income, and income after tax credits. Separate
information for States and other areas is provided.

U .S . R A I L R O A D R E T I R E M E N T B O A R D

The Board publishes an annual report and statistical
supplement which together provide detailed data on
benefits paid under railroad retirement, unemployment
insurance, and sickness benefit programs.

IN T E R S T A T E C O M M E R C E C O M M IS S IO N (IC C )

ICC publishes Wage Statistics o f Class I Railroads in
the U.S., an annual report on occupational earnings,
hours, and vacation and other bepefits of employees.
Data are by occupational group: Executives, officials,
and staff assistants; professional, clerical, and general;
maintenance (two groups); and transportation (two
groups). Aggregate data on employment and payroll for
motor carriers are published annually in Transport
Statistics in the United States, Part II: Motor Carriers.9
U .S .

O F F IC E

OF

PERSONNEL

S E C U R IT IE S A N D E X C H A N G E
C O M M IS S IO N (S E C )

Data on private noninsured pension funds are
available in the Commission’s files but no longer are
published by the S E C . The information includes
employer and employee contributions to and aggregate
benefits paid from pension funds of corporations, non­
profit organizations, and union and multiemployer
groups, except funds managed by insurance companies.
The file also includes deferred profit-sharing plans, but
excludes health, welfare, and bonus plans.

MANAGEMENT

(O P M )

The Office of Personnel Management maintains a Cen­
tral Personnel Data File that contains a wide array of in­
formation on civilian employees of the Federal Govern­
ment. It periodically publishes reports, using statistics
from this file. One ongoing series is Federal Civilian
Work Force Statistics that includes a report on the Pay
Structure o f the Federal Civil Service. This report is
issued monthly as “ Monthly Release” and annually
under the full title. Data include grade and total and

N EW YORK STATE

A monthly report, Employment Review, New York
State, is published on total employment and average
earnings and weekly hours for workers in New York
State, New York City, and selected areas of upstate New
York. The data, which are shown by industry, are from
Federal and State government records. Among special
articles which appear annually is a review of
demographic and economic data by employment status,

9 Parts I, III, IV, V, and VI o f T r a n s p o r t S t a t is tic s in th e U n ite d
S ta t e s are no longer published. These volum es covered data on

regulated com panies such as railroads, freight forwarders, private
railroad car lines, and carriers by water, and by pipelines.

98

collection of social and economic statistics, taken from
reports of the State and the Federal Government, public
utilities, and financial institutions. It is divided into
several sections, including labor force, employment, in­
come, and cost of living. Selected historical trends are
included.
Also produced is California Labor Market Bulletin, a
monthly report on average earnings and weekly hours,
providing data by age group, race, sex, industry, and
county. The information is compiled by the State in
cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor.
Annual Planning Information, compiled from Cen­
sus Bureau and other Federal and State sources, covers
labor force data as well as household and family income
by selected characteristics.

sex, race, and other characteristics, based on informa­
tion derived from the CPS.

The Division of Research and Statistics of the State’s
Department of Labor collects occupational wage data
and publishes bulletins for selected industries, such as
retail food stores, fabricated textile products, and hand­
bag and purse manufacturing.
The Research Division also maintains a file of collec­
tive bargaining agreements and issues a quarterly
report, Collective Bargaining Settlements in New York
State, which summarizes terms of each settlement affec­
ting 250 or more workers in the State. Statistical sum­
maries also are provided.
S T A T E O F C A L IF O R N IA

Labor force information, including earnings and
hours, is available in several State publications based on
data compiled from a variety of sources. The most com­
prehensive is California Statistical Abstract, an annual

Norma W. Carlson
Office of Wages
and Industrial Relations

99

Appendix table 1. Checklist of selected Federal agencies (other than the Bureau of Labor Statistics)
and their publications having compensation Information
Federal agency and publication
Department of Agriculture:
Statistical Reporting Service
Farm L a b o r .............................................................................................
Economic Research Service
Hired Farm Working Force .....................................................
Department of Commerce:
Bureau of the Census
1980 Population Census ..............................................................

Type of data

Coverage

Primary source of data

Periodicity

Wage rates, supplemental Farm workers
labor costs

Sample survey of farm Quarterly
operators

Earnings

Farm workers

Current Population
Survey

Income, earnings

Households, families, and Census
individuals

Consumer Income (Series P -6 0 ).........................

Income, noncash benefits Households, families, and Current Population
individuals
Survey

Household Economic Studies (Series P-70)........

Income, benefits, wealth

Biennial

Decennial
Annual

Households, families, and Survey of Income and Quarterly
individuals
Program Participation

Economic Censuses and Annual Surveys ................... Payroll, supplemental Establishments
(Agriculture, manufacturing, services, labor costs
governments, etc.)

Census and survey

Quinquennial and annual

County Business Patterns...........................................................

Annual

Payroll

Establishments

Census and survey

Bureau of Economic Analysis
Survey o f Current Business .....................................................

Personal income

Individuals

Assorted government and Monthly
private agencies

Business Statistics ..............................................................................

Personal income

Individuals

Assorted government and Biennial
private agencies

Local Personal Income .................................................................

Personal income

Individuals

Assorted government and Annual
private agencies

Regional P rojection s .....................................................................

Personal income

Individuals

Assorted government and Quinquennial
private agencies

Program benefits

H ouseholds, families,
and individuals

In-hou9e data files

Income

H ouseholds, families, Current Population
and individuals
Survey

Biennial

Health Care Financing Administration
Health Care Financing R e view ............................................

Program benefits

Individuals

Quarterly

Department of Defense:
Directorate of Information, Operations,
and Reports
A t las/State Data Abstracts fo r the
United States .......................................................................................

Payroll, pensions

Military personnel and In-house data files
civilian employees

Department of Education:
National Center for Education Statistics
College Faculty Salaries ..............................................................

Salary, fringe benefits

College and university Higher Education General Annual
faculty
Information Survey

Salary

Public elementary and sec­ Survey of State education Annual
ondary school teachers; agencies; College Place­
college and university ment Council
graduates

Department of Health and Human Services:
Social Security Administration
Social Security Bulletin and annual
Statistical Supplem ent ..............................................................
Income o f the Population 55 and O v e r ......................

Digest o f Education Statistics ...............................................

In-house data files

Monthly

Annual

Department of Energy:
Office of Industrial Relations
Report on National Survey o f Compensation
Paid Scientists and Engineers Engaged in
Research and Development A ctiv itie s ................... Salary

Scientists, engineers

Survey

Annual

Department of the Treasury:
Internal Revenue Service
Statistics o f Income: Individual Income
Tax Returns .......................................................................................

Individuals

Survey of tax returns

Annual

Railroad reports

Annual

Interstate Commerce Commission:
Wage Statistics o f Class I Railroads in the U.S. ..

Income

Occupational earnings, Railroad employees
fringe benefits

100

Appendix table 1. Continued—Checklist of selected Federal agencies (other than the Bureau of Labor Statistics)
and their publications having compensation information

Transport Statistics in the United States
Part II: Motor Carriers...................... ...........................................

Coverage

Type of data

Federal agency and publication

Primary source of data

Periodicity

Payroll

Motor carriers

Motor carrier reports

Annual

National Science Foundation:
Characteristics o f Doctoral Scientists and
Engineers in the U.S .............................................................................

Salary

Scientists and engineers

Survey

Biennial

Characteristics o f Recent Science and
Engineering Graduates .....................................................................

Salary

Scientists and engineers

Survey

Biennial

Office of Personnel Management:
Federal Civilian Work Force Statistics: Pay
Structure o f the Federal Civil Service ............................

Salary

Federal Government
employees

Central personnel data
files

Monthly and annual

Affirmative Employment Statistics.........................................

Salary

Federal Government
employees

Central personnel data
files

Biennial

Occupations o f Federal White-collar and
Blue-collar W orkers ...........................................................................

Salary

Federal Government
employees

Central personnel data
files

Biennial

Pensions

Railroad retirees

In-house data files

Annual

U.S. Railroad Retirement Board:
Annual report and statistical supplement................

* U .S .

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE-. 1 9 8 6 - ^ 9 1 - 5 4 3 i iJ-6258

101

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Bureau of Labor Statistics
Regional Offices

Region I
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
Government Center
Boston. Mass. 02203
Phone: (617) 223-6761

Region IV
1371 Peachtree Street, N E.
Atlanta, Ga. 30367
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Region II
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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102