Median Wages Rise but Vary Greatly by Ethnicity and Age

Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 117.6 million full-time wage and salary workers were $908 in the second quarter of 2019 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was 3.7 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.8 percent in the Consumer Price Index over the same period.

Highlights from the second-quarter data:

Women had median weekly earnings of $814, or 81.4 percent of the $1,000 median for men. The women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity.

White women earned 81.4 percent as much as their male counterparts, compared with 90.8 percent for Black women, 72.5 percent for Asian women, and 83.2 percent for Hispanic women.

Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median weekly earnings of Blacks ($724) and Hispanics ($696) working at full-time jobs were lower than those of Whites ($933) and Asians ($1,152).

By sex, median weekly earnings for Black men were $761, or 74.2 percent of the median for White men ($1,026). Median earnings for Hispanic men were $746, or 72.7 percent of the median for White men. The difference was less among women, as Black women’s median earnings were $691, or 82.8 percent of those for White women ($835), and earnings for Hispanic women were $621, or 74.4 percent of those for White women. Earnings of Asian men ($1,331) and women ($965) were higher than those of their White counterparts.

By age, median weekly earnings were highest for men ages 35 to 64: weekly earnings were $1,133 for men ages 35 to 44, $1,153 for men ages 45 to 54, and $1,158 for men ages 54 to 64. Usual weekly earnings were highest for women age 35 and over: median weekly earnings were $908 for women ages 35 to 44, $899 for women ages 45 to 54, $869 for women ages 55 to 64, and $881 for women age 65 and over.

Men and women ages 16 to 24 had the lowest median weekly earnings, $601 and $522, respectively.

Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in management, professional, and related occupations had the highest median weekly earnings — $1,540 for men and $1,117 for women. Men and women employed in service jobs earned the least, $637 and $530, respectively.

By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $588, compared with $751 for high school graduates (no college) and $1,357 for those holding at least a bachelor’s degree. Among college graduates with advanced degrees (master’s, professional, and doctoral degrees), the highest earning 10 percent of male workers made $3,997 or more per week, compared with $2,822 or more for their female counterparts.