Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2002. Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 3. Earnings of Low-skilled Workers

03/01/2002

Figure WORK 3. Mean Weekly Wages of Men Working Full-Time, Full-Year with No More than a High School Education, by Race (2000 Dollars): Selected Years

Figure WORK 3. Mean Weekly Wages of Men Working Full-Time, Full-Year with No More than a High School Education, by Race (2000 Dollars): Selected Years

Source: ASPE tabulations of March CPS data.

  • Mean weekly wages for full-time work by men with no more than a high school diploma have decreased in real terms for much of the past quarter century, with some recovery in the late 1990s. In 1970, the mean weekly wage for low-skilled men working full-time was $683 (in 2000 dollars); the comparable wage in 1995 was $617, a decrease of 10 percent.
  • In recent years, this pattern has changed; weekly wages for low-skilled men have risen, even after taking inflation into account. The mean weekly wage for low-skilled full-time workers was $650 in 2000 – a rise above the 1995 level, but still not as high as wages for this group in 1970 (in 2000 dollars).
  • The gap between mean weekly wages for white and black men with low education levels has narrowed significantly over time, but expanded slightly in 2000. In 1970, the mean weekly wage for low-skilled black men working full-time was $497 (in 2000 dollars), or 70 percent of the $706 average for white men. However, full-time working black men with no more than a high school education received 88 percent of the mean weekly wages of white men in 1999 ($573 compared to $654). In 2000, the wages of low-skilled black men were 85 percent of those of white men with a similar level of education ($565 compared to $667). The gap between mean weekly wages for white and black men with low education levels has narrowed significantly.

Table WORK 3: Mean Weekly Wages of Men Working Full-Time, Full-Year with No More than a High-School Education, by Race (2000 Dollars): Selected Years

  1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
All Men $683 $694 $693 $669 $625 $617 $629 $640 $628 $639 $650
White Men $706 $712 $712 $690 $643 $635 $646 $657 $644 $654 $667
Black Men $497 $547 $539 $524 $516 $509 $529 $530 $536 $573 $565

Note: Full-time, full-year workers work at least 48 weeks per year and 35 hours per week. White and black include those of Hispanic origin for all years.

Source: ASPE tabulations of March CPS data.

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