Chart Detail

Hourly wages of entry-level and experienced workers, by gender and education, 1973–2011 (2011 dollars)

Real hourly wage Change
1973 1979 1989 1995 2000 2007 2011 1979–1989 1989–2000 2000–2007 2007–2011 1979–2011
High school
Men
Entry* $15.92 $15.64 $12.59 $11.67 $12.82 $12.70 $11.68 -19.5% 1.8% -0.9% -8.0% -25.3%
Age 34–40 22.75 22.39 19.47 18.66 19.44 19.43 18.42 -13.0 -0.2 -0.1 -5.2 -17.7
Age 49–55 23.97 23.88 21.96 20.94 20.80 20.89 20.61 -8.0 -5.3 0.4 -1.3 -13.7
Women
Entry* $11.66 $11.56 $10.30 $9.96 $10.93 $10.23 $9.92 -10.8% 6.1% -6.4% -3.1% -14.2%
Age 34–40 13.38 13.50 13.51 13.64 14.52 14.69 14.14 0.0 7.5 1.2 -3.7 4.7
Age 49–55 13.95 13.89 14.21 14.31 15.24 15.78 15.35 2.3 7.3 3.5 -2.7 10.5
College
Men
Entry** $21.11 $20.61 $21.07 $19.51 $23.47 $22.88 $21.68 2.2% 11.4% -2.5% -5.2% 5.2%
Age 34–40 34.07 32.03 31.17 31.88 35.33 37.10 36.24 -2.7 13.4 5.0 -2.3 13.1
Age 49–55 35.11 35.50 35.05 35.20 36.41 36.39 36.40 -1.3 3.9 -0.1 0.0 2.5
Women
Entry** $17.69 $16.30 $18.34 $17.95 $20.00 $19.67 $18.80 12.5% 9.0% -1.6% -4.4% 15.4%
Age 34–40 21.11 18.68 21.18 23.86 25.99 27.15 27.39 13.4 22.7 4.4 0.9 46.6
Age 49–55 20.14 18.91 20.56 23.94 25.19 27.04 27.11 8.8 22.5 7.3 0.3 43.4

* Entry-level wage measured as wage of those from 19 to 25 years old

** Entry-level wage measured as wage of those from 23 to 29 years old

Source: Authors' analysis of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group microdata

Updated May 14, 2012

Documentation and methodology

Table is based on analysis of CPS wage data described in Appendix B. Entry-level wages are measured for a seven-year window starting a year after normal graduation, which translates to ages 19–25 for high school graduates and ages 23–29 for college graduates.

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