Wage and salary workers in the U.S.: hourly earnings 1979-2017

In 2017, the median hourly earnings of wage and salary workers in the United States was 14.63 U.S. dollars. This is an increase from 1979, when median hourly earnings were at 4.44 U.S. dollars.

Hourly Workers

The United States national minimum wage is 7.25 U.S. dollars per hour, which has been the minimum wage since 2009. However, each state has the agency to set their state minimum wage. Furthermore, each city is able to create their minimum wage. Many argue that the minimum wage is too low and should be raised, because it is not considered a living wage. There has been a movement to raise the minimum wage to 15 U.S. dollars per hour, called “Fight for 15.” The District of Columbia had the highest minimum wage as of January 1, 2019.

Salary Workers

On the other hand, salary workers in the United States do not get paid on an hourly basis. The median weekly earnings of salary workers have significantly increased since 1979. Asian salary workers had the highest hourly earnings in the U.S. in 2017. Female salary workers ages 55 to 64 years old had the highest median hourly earnings in 2017, and for male salary workers, those aged 45 to 54 years old had the highest median hourly earnings.
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Median hourly earnings of wage and salary workers in the United States from 1979 to 2017
(in current U.S. dollars)
Wage in current U.S. dollars
201714.63
201614
201513.44
201413.14
201312.93
201212.8
201112.71
201012.5
200912.44
200812.23
200711.95
200611.76
200511.19
200411
200310.85
200210.47
200110.19
20009.91
19999.53
19989.1
19978.75
19968.4
19958.17
19948.01
19937.87
19927.72
19917.5
19907.23
19896.99
19886.73
19876.47
19866.2
19856.03
19845.83
19835.59
19825.4
19815.15
19804.82
19794.44
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