Chart Detail

Average wages and work hours, 1967–2010 (2011 dollars)

Productivity
per hour
(2005=100)
Real wage levels Hours worked
Annual wages Weekly wages Hourly wages Annual hours Weeks/ year Hours/ week
1967 52.3 $29,555 $678.58 $17.24 1,716 43.5 39.3
1973 60.2 34,378 791.40 20.50 1,679 43.4 38.6
1979 64.2 34,632 789.79 20.34 1,703 43.8 38.8
1989 73.1 37,685 830.34 21.13 1,783 45.4 39.3
1995 78.8 38,768 843.83 21.22 1,827 45.9 39.8
2000 88.5 43,616 929.04 23.24 1,876 46.9 40.0
2007 102.0 43,615 920.91 23.16 1,883 47.4 39.8
2010 108.2 43,194 928.18 23.79 1,815 46.5 39.0
Annual growth rate*
1967–1973 2.4% 2.5% 2.6% 2.9% -0.4% 0.0% -0.3%
1973–1979 1.1 0.1 0.0 -0.1 0.2 0.2 0.1
1979–1989 1.3 0.8 0.5 0.4 0.5 0.3 0.1
1989–2000 1.7 1.3 1.0 0.9 0.5 0.3 0.2
1989–1995 1.3 0.5 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.2 0.2
1995–2000 2.3 2.4 1.9 1.8 0.5 0.4 0.1
2000–2007 2.0 0.0 -0.1 -0.1 0.1 0.1 -0.1
2007–2010 2.0 -0.3 0.3 0.9 -1.2 -0.6 -0.6

* Log growth rate

Source: Authors' analysis of unpublished Total Economy Productivity data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Labor Productivity and Costs program, Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement microdata, and Murphy and Welch (1989)

Updated May 14, 2012

Documentation and methodology

Productivity data, which measure output per hour of the total economy, including the private and public sectors, are from an unpublished series available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Labor Productivity and Costs program on request. The wage-level data are based on the authors’ tabulations of Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS-ASEC, also known as the March CPS) microdata files using a series on annual, weekly, and hourly wages for wage and salary workers. See Appendix B for the sample definition and other information. The weekly and hourly wage data are “hour weighted,” obtained by dividing annual wages by weeks worked and annual hours worked. The 1967 and 1973 values are derived from unpublished tabulations provided by Kevin Murphy from an update of Murphy and Welch (1989); they include self-employment as well as wage and salary workers. The values displayed in this table were bridged from CPS 1979 values using the growth rates in the Murphy and Welch series. Hours of work were derived from differences between annual, weekly, and hourly wage trends.

Get the data

Get the data behind the charts.

Explore Our Charts

Subject

Demographic

Select a subject or demographic

Interactive feature

Interactive feature promo image When income grows, who gains?

For the media

Economic Policy Institute Media Relations Department (202) 775–8810 |