Hourly earnings are the actual return to the worker for an hour worked. They are on a "gross" basis because they include not only basic hourly and incentive wage rates, but also such variable factors as premium pay for overtime and late-shift work. However, average hourly earnings are not average hourly labor costs to employers because they do not include irregular bonuses, retroactive items, payments of various welfare benefits, payroll taxes paid by employers, and earnings for those employees not covered under production worker, construction worker, or non-supervisory employee definitions.
Changes in average hourly earnings indicate the changes in the actual return to production workers. They also reflect shifts in the number of employees between relatively high-paid and low-paid work.
Historically, average hourly earnings of production workers in transportation industries have been higher than the all-industry average. However, the gap between the two has been shrinking. This is particularly true when measured in constant dollars. In 1982 dollars, the all-industry average hourly earnings increased 4.46 percent between August 2000 and August 2001. In contrast, the average hourly earnings in transportation industryremained unchanged from a year ago.
|Average Hourly Earnings||Aug-00||Aug-01|
|Transportation and public utilities (current dollars)||16.22||16.95|
|Transportation and public utilities (current dollars) percent change from same month previous year||3.38||4.50|
|Total private (current dollars)||13.67||14.28|
|Total private (current dollars) percent change from same month previous year||3.56||4.46|
|Transportation and public utilities (1982 dollars)||9.28||9.45|
|Transportation and public utilities (1982 dollars) percent change from same month previous year||0.00||1.83|
|Total private (1982 dollars)||7.83||7.96|
|Total private (1982 dollars) percent change from same month previous year||0.26||1.66|
NOTES: The current value is compared to the value from the same period in the previous year to account for seasonality.
In the transportation industry, production workers include vehicle operators, vehicle maintenance and repair workers, transportation facility operators, and workers directly engaged in providing passenger and freight transportation services.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Employment, Hours, and Earnings, available at http://www.bls.gov/ecthome.htm.