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National Compensation Survey - Wages provides data on occupational wages for localities, broad geographic regions, and the nation.

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General Overview:

Summary | Data Collection | Survey Methodology | Data Usage

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Special Notices:
  • Pay relatives for major occupational groups in metropolitan areas in the United States have been posted.
  • NCS locality wage publications have introduced a number of changes.
    The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system replaced the 1990 Occupational Classification System (OCS) based on the Census of Population. The 2002 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) replaced the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. For more information see the web sites and . The tables have also been reordered and renumbered. For a crosswalk between the new and old tables, see the BLS website at .
  • 8/31/2006 The nine census division publications containing 2005 data have been revised to correct errors for "metropolitan" and "nonmetropolitan" estimates included in tables 1 and 2. Bulletin 2581, National Compensation Survey: Occupational Wages in the United States, June 2005, includes revisions to "metropolitan" and "nonmetropolitan" estimates previously published in Summary 06-04.
  • The Occupational Compensation Survey was replaced by the National Compensation Survey. 1992-96 OCS data is still available and can be viewed by clicking on Archives.
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Get Detailed NCS - Wages Statistics:

Beginning with the NCS wage bulletins published in September 2006, the 2002 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system replaced the 1990 Census of Population classification system. The Create Customized Table applications have not been updated yet to include any of the surveys published using the SOC system. The new SOC based applications are being developed and the new database should be available later this year. Data for recent bulletins can be accessed at the following site

  • Create Customized Tables (one screen) --this application requires a Java-enabled browser. Choose the data you want from BLS databases on a simple, one-screen form.
  • Create Customized Tables (multiple screens) --a form-based query application which allows you to obtain BLS time series data based on choices you make.
  • Series Report--Already know the series identifier for the statistic you want? Use this shortcut to retrieve your data.
  • Flat files (FTP)--For those who want it all. Download a flat file of the entire database or large subset of the database.
  • Wages Search--allows you to search through all National Compensation Survey - Occupational Wage publications and tables that are currently available electronically.
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Tables Created by BLS:
  • National Summary (PDF 126K)--summarizes findings in the 2006 National Bulletin.
  • National Bulletin -- includes chartbook for the first time
  • Nine Census Summaries--provides estimates of occupational pay in the 9 census divisions in the United States.
  • Published NCS Areas--provides data on the occupational wages for selected localities.
  • Supplementary Tables, June 2005 (PDF 348K)--provides for selected occupations, mean weekly and annual hours and earnings, plus mean hourly earnings and hourly earnings at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles.
  • Occupational Pay Relatives
  • List of Special Industry Surveys--provides data on the occupational wages for special published areas listed by industry.
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Publications and Other Documentation:
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Related Links:

Other BLS Programs

  • National Compensation Survey--designed to integrate data from separate BLS compensation surveys--currently provides earnings data by worker characteristics and establishment characteristics and by geographic area.
  • Benefits--comprehensive data on incidence and provisions of selected employee benefit plans.
  • Compensation Cost Trends--quarterly indexes measuring change over time in labor costs and quarterly data measuring level of average costs per hour worked.
  • Occupational Employment Statistics--data on employment and wages for over 800 occupations and for about 400 nonfarm industries for the nation, plus occupational data for States and metropolitan areas.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook--provides data for 250 occupations, by nature of the work, working conditions, employment, job outlook and earnings, related occupations, sources of additional information, and training, other qualifications, and advancement.

Other Useful Links

  • Major Statutes of the U.S. Department of Labor (PDF 32K).
  • Employment Standards Administration--administers a variety of programs protecting the basic rights of workers, including minimum wage and hour standards, and equal employment opportunity.
  • Employee Benefit Research Institute--offers a detailed description of private- and public-sector employee benefit programs as they exist today.
 Latest Numbers

Civilian Workers, Compensation

3-Month % Change (SA)
0.7% in 1st Qtr of 2008

12-Month % Change (NSA)
3.3% in 1st Qtr of 2008

Private Industry, Compensation

3-Month % Change (SA)
0.8% in 1st Qtr of 2008

12-Month % Change (NSA)
3.2% in 1st Qtr of 2008

State and Local Government, Compensation

3-Month % Change (SA)
0.6% in 1st Qtr of 2008

12-Month % Change (NSA)
3.6% in 1st Qtr of 2008

» SA- Seasonally Adjusted
» NSA- Not Seasonally Adjusted
» Click on the History icon for 10 years of historical data.

 People Are Asking...

1. When compared with other occupations the hourly earnings for some occupations, such as teachers and airline pilots, seem higher than expected. Why is this?

2. How is the number of hours worked determined for occupations with unusual work schedules such as airline pilots and teachers?

3. Why do average wages and salaries for some occupations seem to fluctuate widely from year-to-year in the National Compensation Survey?

4. Are there any tables that reflect the national compensation for men and women?

5. How can I obtain statewide occupational survey data?

6. Where can I find wage differentials for specific cities?

MAIL ICON Send us your question

 Regional Resources

Get wage data quick by clicking on the map or by choosing a state from the drop-down list and clicking GO.

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