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Weekly earnings in 1985: a look at more than 200 occupations.

Weekly earnings in 1985: a look at more than 200 occupations

This summary presents 1985 annual average data on the median weekly earnings of workers in more than 200 occupational categories. The data are obtained through the Current Population Survey (CPS), a nationwide sample survey conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the Bureau of the Census. Covered are wage and salary workers (excluding the incorporated self-employed) who usually work full time (35 hours or more per week).

First published in 1982, this annual series is also available in unpublished form back to 1979.(1) When making year-to-year comparisons, several caveats must be taken into account. One concerns the occupational classification system. The present system, developed for the 1980 census, was introduced into the CPS in 1983.(2) Because the new classification system is vastly different from the previous one, 1983-85 data are not comparable with those available for 1979-82.

Another caveat relates to the procedure currently used to estimate median weekly earnings. Prior to 1983, medians were estimated using the linear interpolation of $50- to $100-wide intervals. Medians for 1983 and 1984 were initially estimated via the interpolation of $10-wide uncentered intervals. This change was introduced to reduce a systematic upward bias resulting from the use of wider uncentered intervals for earnings data, which are subject to a high incidence of rounding by CPS respondents. In 1985, the procedure was changed back to $50-wide intervals, but these were centered on multiples of $50. This newer procedure lessens the sometimes erratic movements in medians caused by having a large number of narrow intervals. The data for 1983 and 1984 have been revised using the new procedure and are available from BLS on request, but earlier medians are still based on the old (pre-1983) procedures.

As in previous years, the data in table 1 are limited to those occupations with at least 50,000 employed wage and salary workers who usually work full time. The table presents median weekly earnings in 230 non-overlapping occupational groupings, and male-female comparisons are shown for 85 such groupings.

Obviously, within each of the occupations shown, there is likely to be a wide range of money earned among individual workers. This is because each occupational group still has many different jobs for which data are not tallied separately. Each occupation has specialities with differences in skill levels, market demand for the jobs, and other variables. Also, workers in each specialty may have different duties, responsibilities, work schedules, and job tenure.

In addition, caution must be used in interpreting differences between groups, particularly when either the number of workers in a job category is small or there are comparatively small differences between earnings medians. This is because the estimates are based on a sample and, accordingly, are subject to sampling errors.

1 Data for 1981 appear in "1981 Weekly Earnings of Men and Women Compared in 100 Occupations' (News Release, March 7, 1982) and in Nancy F. Rytina, "Earnings of men and women: a look at specific occupations,' Monthly Labor Review, April 1982, pp. 25-31. For 1982 data, see Earl F. Mellor, "Investigating the differences in weekly earnings of women and men,' Monthly Labor Review, June 1984, pp. 17-28. For 1983 data, see Earl F. Mellor, "Weekly earnings in 1983: a look at more than 200 occupations,' Monthly Labor Review, January 1985, pp. 54-59; however, these data were subsequently revised. The revised data for 1983 and 1984 are available by either writing to the Bureau of Labor Statistics or calling (202) 523-1371. For more information on the nationwide sample survey from which these earnings data were obtained, see Earl F. Mellor, Technical Description of the Quarterly Data on Weekly Earnings from the Current Population Survey, Bulletin 2113 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1982), or Earl F. Mellor, "Earnings statistics from the Current Population Survey,' BLS Measures of Compensation, Bulletin 2239 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1986).

2 The system evolved from the Standard Occupational Classification System which was adopted in 1977 and revised in 1980. See Standard Occupational Classification Manual (U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards, 1980). The relationship between the 1980 census system and the classification system is shown in Census of Population: 1980, Classified Index of Industries and Occupations, Report PHC80-R4, final ed. (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1983).

3 For information on the standard error and other limitations of the data, see Technical Description of the Quarterly Data on Weekly Earnings from the Current Population Survey, Bulletin 2113 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1982). For information on other data series on earnings from the Current Population Survey and other BLS surveys, see BLS Measures of Compensation.

Table: 1. Median weekly earnings of wage and salary workers who usually work full time in occupations employing 50,000 or more, by sex, 1985 annual averages
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Title Annotation:wage survey summary
Author:Mellor, Earl F.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Sep 1, 1986
Words:804
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