Your pay is higher than half of all other wage earners if last year’s W-2 showed $29,000 or more, according to the Social Security Administration in its Wage Statistics for 2014 report released today. Your total pay is higher than half of the nation’s 110.4 million full-time wage and salary workers if you earned more than $41,756 last year, according to a recent survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its Usual Weekly Earnings Summary. It also reported that over 24 million part-time workers earned an average of $12,896 in 2014.
Beware of Poor Analysis
A recent Daily Caller headline promoted on The Drudge Report claims 1 In 2 Working Americans Make Less Than $30,000 A Year, which is true when combining full-time and part-time workers together. The analysis misleads the reader by comparing combined full and part-time wages to the federal government poverty level of $24,250 for a family of four.
Two different surveys
The Social Security Administration report uses all earnings subject to Federal income taxes from W-2 Forms submitted by employers. It does not differentiate full-time from part-time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics asks wage and salary workers whether they are working full-time or part-time and how much do they usually earn per week in a nationwide sample households called the Current Population Survey.
The Social Security Administration estimates the 2014 median wage for all workers at $28,851.21 for 2014. Half of paycheck earners make more and half make less. The Bureau of Labor Statistics survey reported full-time median weekly earnings of $803 in the third quarter of 2015, which is $41,756 annually. The Bureau of Labor Statistics survey demonstrates the dramatic dichotomy between full-time and part-time wages. It reveals a part-time weekly wage of $248, which is only $12,896 annually. Thus, any generalizations on income based on the Social Security Administration report is suspect.
The Social Security Administration report computes a “raw” average wage of $44,569.20 derived by dividing net compensation of $7 billion by 158,186,786 wage earners. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report averages.
Full-time professional men earned $71,812 and women earned $52,000 in management, professional, and related occupations. These were derived from the survey’s median weekly earnings of $1,381 for men and $1,000 for women. Men employed in service jobs earned $29,692 and women employed in service jobs had earnings of $24,180 annually. These numbers were derived from weekly earning of $571 and $465, respectively.
Income increases with educational attainment
By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma had median annual pay of $25,584. High school graduates earned $34,944.
College degrees reap rewards
Those holding at least a bachelor’s degree earned $59,436. Those with an advanced degree earned an annual median wage of $72,488.
More women work part-time
Nearly twice as many women work part-time compared to men. There are 15,483,000 women working part-time in the third quarter of 2015 compared to 8,135,000 men. Fortunately, that number is dropping every year as the economy is improving.