Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2008. Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 3. Earnings of Low-skilled Workers

12/20/2008

Figure WORK 3.
Mean Weekly Wages of Women and Men Working Full-Time, Full-Year with No More than a High School Education
by Race and Ethnicity (2006 Dollars): 1980-2006

Figure WORK 3

Note:  Last data point is 2006.  Full-time, full-year workers work at least 48 weeks per year and usually work 35 hours per week.

Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are not shown separately.

Source:  Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1981-2007.


  • Figure WORK 3 shows the mean weekly wages in 2006 dollars of low-skilled women and men (those with a high school education or less) working full-time, full-year by race and ethnicity for selected years.  This measure of low skill is based only on educational attainment and does not take other skills based on work experience, training or other credentials into account.1
  • In 2006, Non-Hispanic White women with a high school education or less working full-time, full-year earned $574 in an average week compared to $503 for similar Non-Hispanic Black women and $447 for similar Hispanic women of any race.  Among men working full-time, full-year with a high school education or less, Non-Hispanic White men earned $821 in an average week, compared to $639 for Non-Hispanic Black men and $578 for Hispanic men of any race.
  • Table WORK 3 provides the detailed estimates used for Figure WORK 3.  In 2006, Non-Hispanic White women had the highest average weekly wages among women working full-time, full-year with a high school education or less at $574.  This represents a 17.4 percent increase in their mean weekly wages between 1980 and 2006.  Over the same time period, similar Non-Hispanic Black women experienced a 12.5 percent increase in their mean weekly wages while similar Hispanic women of any race experienced a 6.9 percent increase.
  • Among men working full-time, full-year with a high school education or less, average weekly wages increased 1.5 percent among Non-Hispanic White men and 6.1 percent among Non-Hispanic Black men between 1980 and 2006.  Hispanic men working full-time, full-year with a high school education or less experienced a 5.2 percent decrease in average weekly wages over the same time period.

Table WORK 3.
Mean Weekly Wages of Women and Men Working Full-Time, Full-Year with No More than a High School Education by Race and Ethnicity (2006 Dollars):  1980-2006

  Women Men
Non-Hispanic White Non-Hispanic Black Hispanic Non-Hispanic White Non-Hispanic Black Hispanic
Note:  Full-time, full-year workers work at least 48 weeks per year and usually work 35 hours per week.

Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians, and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are not shown separately.

Source:  Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1981-2007.

1980 489 447 418 809 602 610
1982 490 445 428 789 584 583
1983 491 445 424 781 562 591
1984 495 462 431 799 562 595
1985 510 462 425 792 587 584
1986 517 465 448 811 590 569
1987 524 483 433 808 600 566
1988 526 467 433 806 631 571
1989 523 492 445 790 589 554
1990 524 480 420 758 585 540
1991 520 470 422 749 587 522
1992 531 474 439 759 578 537
1993 528 460 427 745 571 523
1994 537 476 431 758 586 520
1995 542 476 418 784 594 522
1996 547 504 433 805 620 520
1997 555 474 444 819 621 560
1998 578 481 448 801 628 557
1999 554 483 439 823 671 555
2000 573 487 428 844 665 565
2001 583 514 449 837 643 571
2002 593 528 453 835 648 595
2003 615 508 461 839 663 560
2004 601 496 451 832 622 569
2005 589 493 444 822 617 548
2006 574 503 447 821 639 578

1 This education-based measure of low skill is from the work of Rebecca Blank in “It Takes a Nation:  A New Agenda for Fighting Poverty,” 1998.

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