Median weekly earnings of the nation's 100.1 million full-time wage and salary workers were $752 in the fourth quarter of 2010 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on January 20. This was 0.5 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.3 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. Data shown in this release are not seasonally adjusted unless otherwise specified. Highlights from fourth-quarter data are:

  • Seasonally adjusted median weekly earnings were $751 in the fourth quarter of 2010, an increase of 0.8 percent from the previous quarter, $745.
  • On a not seasonally adjusted basis, median weekly earnings were $752 in the fourth quarter of 2010. Women who usually worked full time had median weekly earnings of $679, or 81.8 percent of the $830 median for men.
  • The female-to-male earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White women earned 81.1 percent of their male counterparts, compared with black (96.2 percent), Asian (75.9 percent), and Hispanic women (89.9 percent).
  • Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median weekly earnings for black men working at full-time jobs were $629 per week or 73.4 percent of the median for white men ($857). The difference was less among women, as black women's median earnings ($605) were 87.1 percent of those for white women ($695). Overall, median earnings of Hispanics who worked full time ($539) were lower than those of blacks ($614), whites ($772), and Asians ($828).
  • Usual weekly earnings of full-time workers varied by age. Among men, those age 55 to 64 had the highest median weekly earnings, $1,003. Usual weekly earnings were highest for women age 35 to 44 and age 55 to 64, $737 and $742, respectively. Among all full-time workers, usual weekly earnings were lowest for those age 16 to 24 ($443).
  • Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in management, professional, and related occupations had the highest median weekly earnings – $1,267 for men and $937 for women. Men and women employed in service jobs earned the least, $585 and $421, respectively.
  • By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $438, compared with $633 for high school graduates (no college) and $1,139 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 $3,383 or more per week, compared with $2,216 or more for their female counterparts.