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Codes

9999.99 = N.I.U.

Top codes:

1982-1988: 999 (Weekly earnings of $999 or more).
1989-1997: 1923 (Weekly earnings of $1923 or more).
1998-onward: 2885 (Weekly earnings of $2885 or more: ASEC samples only). 2884.61 for non-ASEC samples.

Description

EARNWEEK reports how much the respondent usually earned per week at their current job, before deductions. Interviewers asked directly about total weekly earnings and also collected information about the usual number of hours worked per week and the hourly rate of pay at the current job. The figure given in EARNWEEK is the higher of the values derived from these two sources: 1) the respondent's answer to the question, "How much do you usually earn per week at this job before deductions?" or 2) for workers paid by the hour (and coded as "2" in PAIDHOUR), the reported number of hours the respondent usually worked at the job, multiplied by the hourly wage rate given in HOURWAGE.

Amounts are expressed as they were reported to the interviewer, users must adjust for inflation using Consumer Price Index adjustment factors. Researchers should use the EARNWT weight with this variable.

EARNWEEK is one of the Outgoing Rotation/Earner Study questions.

Comparability

Apart from the effects of inflation, this variable is comparable over time.

EARNWEEK as provided by IPUMS has 2 decimal places. Users should note that EARNWEEK originally had no implied decimals in any ASEC samples, nor in non-ASEC samples from 1982-1993. There are 2 implied decimals in non-ASEC samples from 1994 onwards. Command files provided by IPUMS multiply EARNWEEK by 100 in samples without implied decimals to harmonize the difference, so no further adjustment is necessary.

Information about weekly earnings was collected beginning in 1982, as part of a series of questions about usual weekly and hourly earnings. The Census Bureau reports that the results in the CPS public use files for this data series included errors for ASEC files prior to 1989. As a result, these variables are only available in ASEC data through IPUMS CPS from 1989 forward. Monthly data is available from 1982 forward.

In the original data CPS data from 1982-1988, weekly earnings are split into separate variables for those who are paid hourly and those who are not. In order to facilitate comparability with later samples, IPUMS CPS has combined information from both of these variables into EARNWEEK during this period.

According to Technical Paper 66, issued jointly by the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals eligible for the earner study are civilians age 15 and older in rotation groups 4 or 8 who are not self-employed.

This is true for data from 1989 forward, but in the data itself, the universe for 1982 to 1988 is civilians age 14 and older in rotation groups 4 or 8 who are not self-employed.

In any given month, approximately 1/4 of the CPS sample is in the earner study and each household should appear in the earner study exactly twice. Based on documentation from Unicon and NBER, and after an inspection of the original CPS data, we recommend that users impose the CPS eligibility restrictions in any analyses of earner study variables.

Universe

  • 1982-1988 (non-ASEC): Civilians 14+ currently employed as wage/salary workers and in 2 (out of 8) rotation groups. Excludes self-employed persons.
  • 1989-2001 (ASEC): Civilians 15+ currently employed as wage/salary workers and in 2 (out of 8) rotation groups. Excludes self-employed persons.
  • 1989+ (non-ASEC): Civilians 15+ currently employed as wage/salary workers and in 2 (out of 8) rotation groups. Excludes self-employed persons.
  • 2002+ (ASEC): Civilians 15+ currently employed as wage/salary workers and were asked the "earner study" questions. Excludes self-employed persons.

Availability

Years Jan Feb ASEC Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1982 – 1988 X X - X X X X X X X X X X
1989 – 2019 X X X X X X X X X X X X X
2020 X X X X X X X X X - - - -

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