Wages

Wages

Created Variables

  • HRP#: These variables contain a computed hourly rate of pay for each job for which wage information was collected.
  • PAYRATE-EMPALL-##: These variables represent the pay rate value for each for which a pay rate was collected. In 1979-1993, pay rates and time units were collected in a single set of questions. Beginning in 1994, pay rates were compiled from a series of questions depending on the time unit reported.
  • PAYRATE-SP-ALL: These variables represent the pay rate value for the spouse/partner's main job. In 1979-1993, pay rates and time units were collected in a single set of questions. Beginning in 1994, pay rates were compiled from a series of questions depending on the time unit reported.
  • CPSHRP: is the hourly rate of pay for CPS job computed from 1979 to 1994.

 

Important Information About Using Wages Data

The creation of the rate of pay variables listed in the Created Variables box above utilize the HRS_WORKED_WK cross-round (XRND) variables from the NLSY79 Work History data (those XRND variables constitute a week-by-week array spanning from January 1, 1978 through the current interview date and contain the total number of hours worked at all jobs for each week. See Work History Data section and Appendix 18 for more information). For those who report that they performed one or more hours of work at home (1988 to present) and that the number of hours worked at home was not included in the usual hours worked per week, the total number of hours usually worked including work at home is used. This inclusion of home hours has produced, for a small number of respondents, extreme hourly rates of pay due to the fact that both the hours worked at home and hours worked at a place of business are counted. Low numbers in total hours worked--for respondents who did not include home work in their first reported usual hours worked--produce, when combined with rate of pay, erroneous hourly rates of pay. For the most part, accurate total hours worked can be constructed from these raw data. Note that:

  • the calculation procedure, which factors in each respondent's usual wage, time unit of pay, and usual hours worked per day/per week produces, at times, extremely low and extremely high pay rate values;
  • no editing of values reported by a respondent occurs even if the value is extreme, such as $25,000 per hour;
  • no 'Hourly Rate of Pay Job #1-5' data are available for those respondents reporting a time unit of "other"; and
  • any hourly wage rate information reported in the 1988-1993 follow-up question is not included in the creation statements.

 

Year(s) Universe
1979-1980 Current job from which R was not laid off in Employer Supplements; other jobs that are government-sponsored part-time or summer jobs, government sponsored jobs for those not in regular school, part of a tax credit program or any other government sponsored program in Employer Supplements; other jobs R is > 15 years of age & >= 20 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview in Employer Supplements
1981 Current job from which R was not laid off in Employer Supplements; other jobs that are government-sponsored part-time or summer jobs, government sponsored jobs for those not in regular school, part of a tax credit program or any other government sponsored program in employer supplement; other jobs >= 20 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview in Employer Supplements
1982-1984 Current/most recent job in Employer Supplements; other jobs that are government-sponsored part-time or summer jobs, government sponsored jobs for those not in regular school, part of a tax credit program or any other government sponsored program in employer supplement; other jobs >= 20 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview in Employer Supplements
1985 Current/most recent job in Employer Supplements; other jobs that are part of a tax credit program or any government sponsored program in employer supplement; other jobs >= 20 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview in Employer Supplements
1986 Current/most recent job in Employer Supplements; other jobs that are part of a tax credit program or any government sponsored program in employer supplement; other jobs >= 10 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview in Employer Supplements
1987 Current/most recent job in Employer Supplements; other jobs that are part of any government sponsored program in employer supplement; other jobs >= 10 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview in Employer Supplements
1988-1992 Current/most recent job in Employer Supplements; all other jobs except those for which class of worker = working without pay in family business or farm in Employer Supplements
1993-2014 All jobs in Employer Supplements

Data on respondents' usual earnings (inclusive of  tips, overtime, and bonuses but before deductions) have been collected during every survey year for each employer for whom the respondent worked since the last interview date. The amount of earnings, reported in dollars and cents, is coupled with information on the applicable unit of time, such as per day, per hour, per week, or per year. Since 1988, those respondents reporting any unit of time other than "per hour" have been asked a follow-up question on whether they were paid by the hour on that job; if so, an hourly wage rate was collected.

The raw earnings data, collected in the Employer Supplements during each round of the survey and in Section 10 of the 1979 questionnaire, can be found in the variable series 'Rate of Pay Job #1-5' and 'Time Unit of Rate of Pay Job #1-5.' Two sets of variables provide information based on the combined earnings and time unit data. The first set, 'Hourly Rate of Pay Job #1-5,' provides the hourly wage rate for each job as reported. The actual responses of those respondents who report wages with an hourly time unit in the initial earnings question appear in this variable. For those reporting a time unit other than "per hour" or "other" in the initial earnings question, an hourly rate of pay has been calculated. 

A second set of variables based on responses to the initial set of wage/time unit questions, entitled 'Hourly Rate of Pay Current/Most Recent Job,' identifies the hourly earnings for the job identified as the CPS job, that is, the job that the respondent held most recently. Hourly wage rates for those respondents who reported a time unit other than "per hour" can be found in the 1988-93 variables series, 'Paid by the Hour (Time Unit Other than Hourly Previously Reported) Job #1-5' and 'Hourly Rate of Pay (Rate Other than Hourly Previously Reported) Job #1-5.' Table 1 depicts the core set of rate of pay variables present on the NLSY79 combined Main/Work History Data.

Table 1. Core Rate of Pay Variables: NLSY79 Combined Main & Work History Files

NLSY79  Combined Main and Work History Files
Variable Title Years Area of interest
Rate of Pay Job #1-5 1979-2014 Job Information
Time Unit of Rate of Pay Job #1-5 1979-2014 Job Information
Hourly Rate of Pay Job #1-5 1979-2014 Job Information
Hourly Rate of Pay Current/Most Recent Job 1979-93 CPS

Follow-up questions starting in 1986 asked those respondents whose earnings had changed for wage rate and time unit information at the time they first started working for a new employer. In 1986 and 1987, those who were not working for the employer at the interview date were also asked for wage information at the time they left that employer. These data can be found in the following variables: 'Wages Changed Since First Began Working Job #1-5,' 'Rate of Pay When 1st Began Working at Job #1-5,' 'Time Unit of Rate of Pay When 1st Began Working at Job #1-5,' 'Rate of Pay When Last Worked at Job #1-5,' and 'Time Unit of Rate of Pay When Last Worked at Job #1-5.'

Comparison to Other NLS Cohorts: Starting in 1988, NLSY79 children age 10 and older have been asked about the number of hours usually worked and usual earnings in a week. In the NLSY97, several questions are used to determine the job's rate of pay as of the start date. The rate may be defined according to different scales (such as per month, per week, per day, or per hour). Additional information is collected on whether the respondent received any pay from overtime, tips, commissions, bonuses, incentive pay, and other sources when the job started. Questions about freelance employment gather information about the usual number of hours the respondent worked per week and the usual weekly earnings as of the job's start date. In rounds 1-3, respondents who were age 16 or older and reported earning $200 or more per week at a freelance job were considered self-employed.

For the Original Cohorts, rate of pay is available for the CPS job and for many dual or intervening jobs. For more precise details about the content of each survey, consult the appropriate cohort's User's Guide using the tabs above for more information.

Survey Instruments and Documentation Section 10, "Jobs," of the 1979 questionnaire and the Employer Supplements for 1980-2014 collected these raw data.
Areas of Interest The 'Rate of Pay Job #1-5,' 'Time Unit of Rate of Pay Job #1-5,' and 'Hourly Rate of Pay Job #1-5' variables for each job can be found in the "Job Information" area of interest on the main NLSY79 data files. The 'Hourly Rate of Pay Current/Most Recent Job' (1979-1993) variables for each year are located in the "CPS" area of interest. All other main file variables discussed above have been placed in the yearly "Misc. xxxx" areas of interest.