Wages

Wages

Created Variables

CV_HRLY_PAY.xx. Offers hourly wages and is the more traditional measure, with overtime and performance pay excluded. Records the respondent's wage as of date of interview or as of the job's stop date for each job lasting 13 weeks or more. The compensation as of the job's start date is provided for shorter jobs. The suffix refers to job number (.01=Job one, .02=Job two, etc.)

CV_HRLY_COMPENSATION.xx. Calculates the respondent's hourly wage including all extra compensation such as overtime, tips, bonuses, etc. Records the respondent's wage as of date of interview or as of the job's stop date for each job lasting 13 weeks or more. The compensation as of the job's start date is provided for shorter jobs. The suffix refers to job number (.01=Job one, .02=Job two, etc.) Jobs lasting less than 13 weeks are identified by a third created variable (CV_JOB<13_WKS.xx). The suffix refers to job number (.01=Job one, .02=Job two, etc.)

CV_JOB<13_WKS.xx. Identifies whether a respondent's job lasted less than 13 weeks. The suffix refers to job number (.01=Job one, .02=Job two, etc.)

 

Important Information About Using Wage Variables

  1. The calculation process for creating hourly wage and compensation variables--which factors in each respondent's usual wage, time unit of pay, and usual hours worked--may at times produce extremely low and extremely high pay rate values. There is no editing of respondent-reported values even when values are extreme.
  2. If the employee or freelance job was reported during a previous interview, the rate of pay as of the start date was collected at that time. In this case, respondents are asked only about the rate of pay at the stop date or current interview date. However, if the job had been previously reported and the respondent's total tenure was less than 13 weeks, no additional information was collected in the later round. In this case the relevant information is available in the previous round's data. Additionally, a few respondents in various rounds reported new jobs that ended before the round 1 interview date. (These jobs should have been reported in round 1 but were overlooked by the respondent.) In these cases no wage information was collected.
  3. Respondents are first asked to report a time unit for their rate of pay and then to report the actual dollar amount. However, in round 1 the dollar amount may not actually match the time unit reported. This is not clear in the questionnaire because the skip patterns are missing from the relevant question records; the skip patterns are indicated in the codebook. In round 1, respondents reporting a time unit of per day, per week, or other were asked to state their earnings per week in the follow-up dollar amount questions. Respondents who reported a time unit of monthly or semi-monthly were asked to state their earnings per month. The remaining categories (per hour, biweekly, per year) are as reported by the respondent. Affected questions are as follows:

Time unit question Dollar amount questions
YEMP-19200.x YEMP-33400.x and YEMP-33500.x
YEMP-38200.x YEMP-52400.x and YEMP-52500.x
YEMP-62000.x YEMP-76200.x and YEMP-76300.x
YEMP-83100.x YEMP-97300.x and YEMP-97400.x

In subsequent rounds, the skip patterns were made clearer and the time units were adjusted to help avoid any confusion. Respondents who reported a time unit of per day were instead asked for their daily earnings, and those who listed a time unit of biweekly reported their earnings as weekly.

Employee Jobs

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 (e.g., per month, per week, per day, per hour). Additional information is collected on whether the respondent received any non-wage, non-salary pay (e.g., overtime, tips, commissions, bonuses, incentive pay, other pay) when the job started. For each of these types of pay, the respondent is asked to report the rate that he or she earned. For jobs lasting more than 13 weeks, the respondent is asked to report the same wage information--rate of pay and non-wage, non-salary pay--as of the job's end date (or at the time of the survey for on-going jobs).

Freelance Jobs

The set of questions on freelance employment gathers information about the usual number of hours the respondent worked per week and the usual weekly earnings as of the job's start date. Respondents provide similar earnings information as of the job's end date (or at the survey date for on-going jobs). Researchers can use this data to estimate the respondent's hourly rate of pay.

Self-Employment

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. These jobs were included in the freelance section. Beginning in round 4, the structure of the questionnaire changed and respondents were divided by age. Those born in 1980-82 (in 1980-83 for round 5) included self-employment with regular employee jobs and were skipped past the freelance section. For these jobs, respondents reported wage information in the same questions described in Employee Jobs above. Younger respondents born in 1983-84 (in 1984 only for round 5) continued to list self-employment in the freelance section (see Freelance Jobs above) and reported the same wage information as in rounds 1-3. Beginning in round 6, all respondents are treated like the older respondents in rounds 4 and 5.

Military Service

Respondents in the Armed Forces report their pay grade when they entered and when they left (or at the date of the survey for current members). Pay grades are a pay level classification system associated with ranks of military personnel and used by all branches of the military.

Comparison to Other NLS Surveys: Wage data for the NLSY79 are available but have a few differences from the NLSY97. NLSY79 respondents report receiving non-wage, non-salary pay, but exact amounts are not specified. Further, wage data were collected differently before 1994, when the CPS section of the survey was redesigned. For the Original Cohorts, rate of pay is available for the CPS job and for many dual or intervening jobs. Refer to the appropriate cohort's User's Guide for details.

Survey Instruments: The employment section of the Youth Questionnaire contains these questions. Question names begin with YEMP- and roster items begin with YEMP_.

Related User's Guide Sections Income
Main Area of Interest Employment: Wages & Compensation
Supplemental Areas of Interest Income
Employment: Self-Employment
Employment: Tenure w/ Employer
Employment: Hours Spent at Work
Employment: Military