True
Weekly Earnings*

$

817

$42,466
Annualized

Q2 2021

* As defined by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity (LISEP)
Headline
Weekly Earnings*

$

990

$51,480
Annualized

Q2 2021

* As defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is “True Weekly Earnings”?

The True Weekly Earnings (TWE), as defined by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity (LISEP), measures the weekly earnings of all members of the workforce — including part time and jobless who are seeking work.

Using data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),we calculate the median earnings of everyone who is employed or actively seeking employment. Thus, we take the median earnings of the whole U.S. labor force as defined by the BLS.

By comparison, the BLS headline numbers only include those who are employed at full-time jobs. Thus, if a low-income worker moves from full time to part time, or becomes unemployed, the BLS metric will report that earnings have risen, giving a false sense that earnings are getting better. TWE, on the other hand, gives policymakers access to a more comprehensive indicator of how the job market is performing as a whole.

Note: Both LISEP and BLS exclude the self-employed from their sample for measurement reasons.

For a more in-depth explanation of True Weekly Earnings, please reference this white paper.

OVERVIEW

True Weekly Earnings

1982-2021

Select any point on the chart to see the True Weekly Earnings for that quarter.

1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
1985
2015
2020
OVERVIEW

True Weekly Earnings vs. Gross Domestic Product

In 2021 Dollars, 2001-2021

Select any point on the chart to see the data for that quarter.

2005
2010
2015
2020
2000
By INCOME GROUP

True Weekly Earnings by Income Group*

Select any point on the chart to see the True Weekly Earnings for that quarter.

$489
Bottom Quartile
Q2 2021
$1,372
Third Quartile
Q2 2021
$2,202
Ninth Decile
Q2 2021
1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
1985
2015
2020

* In the graph above, first quartile refers to the exact person at the 25th percentile in the distribution. So this person has earnings higher than 25% of the population and lower than 75%. Third quartile refers to the person that has earnings higher than 75% of the population and lower than 25%. Ninth decile refers to the person with earnings higher than 90% and lower than 10% of the population. Note that this does not mean that the ninth decile is the average of the top 10%; rather, it is the exact 90th percentile earner.

By RACE

True Weekly Earnings by Race

Select any point on the chart to see the True Weekly Earnings for that quarter.

$649
Black
Q2 2021
$664
Hispanic
Q2 2021
$915
White
Q2 2021
1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
1985
2015
2020
By RACE

True Weekly Earnings Gap: Black and Hispanic vs. White Workers

For every dollar earned by White workers, Black and Hispanic workers earn ...

Since 1982

Select any point on the chart to see the data for that quarter.

1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
1985
2015
2020
By SEX

True Weekly Earnings by Sex

Select any point on the chart to see the True Weekly Earnings for that quarter.

$719
Female
Q2 2021
$925
Male
Q2 2021
1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
1985
2015
2020
By SEX

True Weekly Earnings Gap: Female vs. Male Workers

For every dollar earned by male workers, female workers earn ...

Since 1982

Select any point on the chart to see the data for that quarter.

1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
1985
2015
2020
By EDUCATION

True Weekly Earnings by Education

Select any point on the chart to see the True Weekly Earnings for that quarter.

$555
No High School
Q2 2021
$720
High School Diploma
Q2 2021
$839
Some College
Q2 2021
$1,170
Bachelors Degree
Q2 2021
$1,521
Advanced Degree
Q2 2021
2000
2005
2010
2015
2020
1995
By EDUCATION

True Weekly Earnings Growth by Education

Earnings growth since 2000

Select any point on the chart to see the data for that quarter.

76%
No High School
Q2 2021
50%
High School Diploma
Q2 2021
48%
Some College
Q2 2021
54%
Bachelors Degree
Q2 2021
58%
Advanced Degree
Q2 2021
2007
2012
2018
2002

True Rate of Unemployment by State

August 2020

Select any state or percentage to see the most recent True Rate of Unemployment.