Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1998. Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 3. Earnings of Low-skilled Workers

10/01/1998

The economic condition of the low-skill labor market is key to the ability of young adult men and women to support families without receiving means-tested assistance. This measure tracks trends in the earnings of low-skilled workers.

Figure WORK 3. Mean Weekly Wages of Men Working Full-Time, Full-Year with No More Than a High School Education (1995 Dollars), 1970 to 1994

Figure WORK 3. Mean Weekly Wages of Men Working Full-Time, Full-Year with No More Than a High School Education (1995 Dollars), 1970 to 1994

Source: Table WORK 3.


  • Mean weekly wages for full-time work by high school-educated men have decreased in real terms over the past quarter of a century. In 1970 the mean weekly wage for low-skilled men working full-time was $593 (in 1995 dollars); the comparable wage in 1994 was $523, representing a decrease of 12 percent.
  • A large gap exists between mean weekly wages for high school-educated white and black men, although it has been narrowing over time. In 1970, the mean weekly wage for low-skilled black men working full-time was $432 (in 1995 dollars), or 70 percent of the $615 average for white men. In 1994, full-time working black men with no more than a high school education received 82 percent of the weekly wages of white men, or a mean wage of $446, compared to a mean wage for white men of $539. The narrowing of this gap is predominantly a result of the declining value of white men’s mean wages.

Table WORK 3. Mean Weekly Wages of Men Working Full-Time, Full-Year with No More Than a High School Education (1995 Dollars), 1970 to 1994

  1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1994

Note: Full-time, full-year workers work at least 48 weeks per year and 35 hours per week. These data have been weighted to create an average for all men with no more than a high school diploma using population numbers from U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P-20. The population weights were calculated for 1970, 1980, and 1990 and the Other year weights were calculated using linear extrapolation.

Source: Blank, R., It Takes a Nation, 1997.

All Men $593 $580 $584 $555 $531 $523
White Men 615 597 603 572 545 539
Black Men 432 460 448 440 442 446

 

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"Indicators of Dependence" (pdf, 152.45Kb)

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"Predictors and Risk Factors Associated with Welfare Receipt (First Half)" (pdf, 158.1Kb)

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