Median weekly earnings of the nation's 101.4 million full-time wage and salary workers were $740 in the third quarter of 2010 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on October 19. This was 0.3 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.2 percent in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the same period.

Data on usual weekly earnings are collected as part of the Current Population Survey, a nationwide sample survey of households in which respondents are asked, among other things, how much each wage and salary worker usually earns. Highlights from the third-quarter data are:

  • Seasonally adjusted median weekly earnings were $745 in the third quarter of 2010, little changed from the previous quarter, $744.
  • On a not seasonally adjusted basis, median weekly earnings were $740 in the third quarter of 2010. Women who usually worked full time had median weekly earnings of $662, or 81.4 percent of the $813 median for men.
  • The female-to-male earnings ratio was lowest among Asians and whites (80.3 and 80.7 percent, respectively), compared with blacks (93.1 percent) and Hispanics (93.3 percent).
  • Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median earnings for black men working at full-time jobs were $634 per week, 75.6 percent of the median for white men, $839. The difference was less among women, as black women's median earnings ($590) were 87.1 percent of those for white women ($677). Overall, median earnings of Hispanics who worked full time ($522) were lower than those of blacks ($611), whites ($759) and Asians ($854)
  • Usual weekly earnings of full-time workers varied by age. Among men, those age 45 to 54 and age 55 to 64 had the highest median weekly earnings, $941 and $983, respectively. Usual weekly earnings were highest for women from age 35 to 64; median weekly earnings were $729 for women age 35 to 44 and age 45 to 54, essentially the same as the $739 median for women age 55 to 64.
  • Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in management, professional, and related occupations had the highest median weekly earnings – $1,255 for men and $921 for women. Men and women employed in service jobs earned the least, $511 and $425, respectively.
  • By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $449, compared with $622 for high school graduates (no college) and $1,158 for those holding at least a bachelor's degree. Among college graduates with advanced degrees (professional or master's degree and above), the highest earning 10 percent of male workers made $3,146 or more per week, compared with $2,207 or more for their female counterparts.