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Real Earnings Down 0.6 percent in August 2011

All employees 

Real average hourly earnings for all employees fell 0.6 percent from July to August, seasonally adjusted, 
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This decrease stems from a 0.1 percent decrease in 
average hourly earnings and a 0.4 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban 
Consumers (CPI-U).

Real average weekly earnings fell 0.8 percent over the month, as a result of the 0.3 percent decrease in 
the average workweek and the decrease in real average hourly earnings. Since reaching a recent peak in 
October 2010, real average weekly earnings have fallen 2.2 percent.

Real average hourly earnings fell 1.9 percent, seasonally adjusted, from August 2010 to August 2011. 
This decrease combined with unchanged average weekly hours resulted in a 1.8 percent decrease in real 
average weekly earnings during the same period.



Production and nonsupervisory employees

Real average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees fell 0.6 percent from July to 
August, seasonally adjusted. This decrease stems from a 0.1 percent decrease in average hourly earnings 
and a 0.4 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers 
(CPI-W).

Real average weekly earnings fell 0.8 percent over the month, as a result of the 0.3 percent decrease in 
the average workweek and the decrease in real average hourly earnings. Since reaching a recent peak in 
October 2010, real average weekly earnings have fallen 2.4 percent.

Real average hourly earnings fell 2.3 percent, seasonally adjusted, from August 2010 to August 2011. 
The decrease in real average hourly earnings combined with unchanged average weekly hours resulted in 
a 2.4 percent decrease in real average weekly earnings during this period.

	
Real Earnings for September 2011 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 
8:30 a.m. (EDT). 
	

 

Table A-1. Current and real (constant 1982-1984 dollars) earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, seasonally adjusted Aug.
2010 June
2011 July
2011(p) Aug.
2011(p)

Real average hourly earnings(1)

$10.40 $10.26 $10.26 $10.20

Real average weekly earnings(1)

$355.54 $351.86 $351.79 $349.00

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers

218.068 224.304 225.425 226.268

Average hourly earnings

$22.67 $23.01 $23.12 $23.09

Average weekly hours

34.2 34.3 34.3 34.2

Average weekly earnings

$775.31 $789.24 $793.02 $789.68

OVER-THE-MONTH PERCENT CHANGE

Real average hourly earnings(1)

0.1 0.2 0.0 -0.6

Real average weekly earnings(1)

0.1 -0.1 0.0 -0.8

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers

0.2 -0.2 0.5 0.4

Average hourly earnings

0.3 0.0 0.5 -0.1

Average weekly hours

0.0 -0.3 0.0 -0.3

Average weekly earnings

0.3 -0.3 0.5 -0.4

OVER-THE-YEAR PERCENT CHANGE

Real average hourly earnings(1)

0.7 -1.4 -1.3 -1.9

Real average weekly earnings(1)

1.5 -0.9 -1.0 -1.8

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers

1.2 3.4 3.6 3.8

Average hourly earnings

1.8 1.9 2.3 1.9

Average weekly hours

0.9 0.6 0.3 0.0

Average weekly earnings

2.7 2.5 2.6 1.9

Footnotes
(1) The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) is used to deflate the earnings series for all employees.
(p) Preliminary


Table A-2. Current and real (constant 1982-1984 dollars) earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls, seasonally adjusted(1) Aug.
2010 June
2011 July
2011(p) Aug.
2011(p)

Real average hourly earnings(2)

$8.94 $8.80 $8.78 $8.73

Real average weekly earnings(2)

$299.57 $295.72 $294.88 $292.48

Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers

213.926 220.768 222.077 223.010

Average hourly earnings

$19.13 $19.43 $19.49 $19.47

Average weekly hours

33.5 33.6 33.6 33.5

Average weekly earnings

$640.86 $652.85 $654.86 $652.25

OVER-THE-MONTH PERCENT CHANGE

Real average hourly earnings(2)

0.0 0.3 -0.2 -0.6

Real average weekly earnings(2)

0.0 0.4 -0.3 -0.8

Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers

0.2 -0.3 0.6 0.4

Average hourly earnings

0.3 0.1 0.3 -0.1

Average weekly hours

0.0 0.0 0.0 -0.3

Average weekly earnings

0.3 0.1 0.3 -0.4

OVER-THE-YEAR PERCENT CHANGE

Real average hourly earnings(2)

0.9 -1.9 -1.8 -2.3

Real average weekly earnings(2)

2.1 -1.2 -1.5 -2.4

Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers

1.4 3.9 4.1 4.2

Average hourly earnings

2.4 2.0 2.1 1.8

Average weekly hours

1.2 0.6 0.3 0.0

Average weekly earnings

3.6 2.6 2.5 1.8

Footnotes
(1) Data relate to production employees in mining and logging and manufacturing, construction employees in construction, and nonsupervisory employees in the service-providing industries. These groups account for approximately four-fifths of the total employment on private nonfarm payrolls.
(2) The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) is used to deflate the earnings series for production and nonsupervisory employees.
(p) Preliminary


Explanatory Note





	The earnings series presented in this release 
are derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 
Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, a 
monthly establishment survey of employment, 
payroll, and hours.  The deflators used for constant-
dollar earnings series presented in this release come 
from the Consumer Price Indexes Programs.  The 
Consumer Price Index for All Urban Employees (CPI-
U) is used to deflate the all employees series, while the 
Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and 
Clerical Workers (CPI-W) is used to deflate the 
production employees series.
	Seasonally adjusted data are used for 
estimates of percent change from the same month a 
year ago for current and constant average hourly and 
weekly earnings.  Special techniques are applied to the 
CES hours and earnings data in the seasonal 
adjustment process to mitigate the effect of certain 
calendar-related fluctuations.  Thus, over-the-year 
changes of these hours and earnings are best measured 
using seasonally adjusted series.  A discussion of the 
calendar-related fluctuations in the hours and earnings 
data and the special techniques to remove them is 
available in the February 2004 issue of Employment 
and Earnings or on the Internet under ‘Technical 
Notes’ (http://www.bls.gov/ces/). 
	Earnings series from the monthly 
establishment series are estimated arithmetic averages 
(means) of the hourly and weekly earnings of all jobs 
in the private nonfarm sector of the economy, as well 
as of all production and nonsupervisory jobs in the 
private nonfarm sector of the economy.  Average 
hourly earnings estimates are derived by dividing the 
estimated industry payroll by the corresponding paid 
hours.  Average weekly hours estimates are similarly 
derived by dividing estimated aggregate hours by the 
corresponding number of jobs.  Average weekly 
earnings estimates are derived by multiplying the 
average hourly earnings and the average weekly hours 
estimates.  This is equivalent to dividing the estimated 
payroll by the corresponding  number of jobs  The 
weekly and hourly earnings estimates for aggregate 
industries, such as the major industry sector and the 
total private sector averages printed in this release, are 
derived by summing the corresponding payroll, hours, 
and employment estimates of the component 
industries.  As a result, each industry receives a 
"weight" in the published averages that corresponds to 
its current level of activity (employment or total 
hours).  This further implies that fluctuations and 
varying trends in employment in high-wage versus low-
wage industries as well as wage rate changes influence 
the earnings averages.
	There are several characteristics of the series 
presented in this release that limit their suitability for 
some types of economic analyses. (1) The 
denominator for the all employee weekly earnings 
series is the number of private nonfarm jobs.  
Similarly, the denominator of the production 
employee weekly earnings series is the number of 
private nonfarm production and nonsupervisory 
employee jobs.  This number includes full-time and 
part-time jobs as well as the jobs held by multiple 
jobholders in the private nonfarm sector.  These 
factors tend to result in weekly earnings averages 
significantly lower than the corresponding numbers for 
full-time jobs.  (2) Annual earnings averages can differ 
significantly from the result obtained by multiplying 
average weekly earnings times 52 weeks.  The 
difference may be due to factors such as turnovers 
and layoffs.  (3) The series are the average earnings of 
all employees or all production and nonsupervisory 
jobs, not the earnings average of "typical" jobs or jobs 
held by "typical" workers.  Specifically, there are no 
adjustments for occupational, age, or schooling 
variations or for household type or location.  Many 
studies have established the significance of these 
factors and that their impact varies over time.
	Seasonally adjusted data are preferred by 
some users for analyzing general earnings trends in the 
economy since they eliminate the effect of changes 
that normally occur at the same time and in about the 
same magnitude each year and, therefore, reveal the 
underlying trends and cyclical movements.  Changes 
in average earnings may be due to seasonal changes in 
the proportion of workers in high-wage and low-wage 
industries or occupations or to seasonal changes in the 
amount of overtime work, and so on.
	For more information, see Thomas Gavett, 
"Measures of Change in Real Wages and Earnings," 
Monthly Labor Review, February 1972.
	Information in this release will be made 
available to sensory impaired individuals upon 
request.  Voice phone:  202-691-5200; TDD Message 
Referral Phone Number: 1-800-877-8339.

Last Modified Date: September 15, 2011

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