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Prices and Wages by Decade: 1970-1979

Links to U. S. government documents listing retail prices for typical consumer purchases, and wages for common occupations. All data is for the United States unless specifically indicated.

Wages, 1970-1979

Jump down to WAGES by LOCATION

Jump down to WAGES for OCCUPATIONS by INDUSTRY
 

GENERAL SOURCES for WAGES (all occupations and worker types)

Wages by city or metro area for selected occupations, 1970-1979

Click on a state tab above to see cities and metro areas.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Area Wage Survey shows wages and salaries for occupations such as secretary, stenographer, typist, messenger, file clerk, bookkeeper, payroll clerk, keypunch operator, computer systems analyst, computer programmer, registered nurse, carpenter, electrician, painter, machinist, mechanic, pipefitter, toot and die maker, janitor, porter, cleaner, and laborer and more.

Alabama

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

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Wages for occupations by industry, 1970-1979

Most of the following are Industry Wage Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Bulletin series.

  • Airline wages in 1970 and 1975
    • Tells salary and wages for pilots, copilots, flight engineers, flight attendants, aircraft inspectors and mechanics, maintenance crew occupations, dispatchers, airline customer service attendants, office clerical workers, and electronic data processing occupations.
  • Appliance repair shop wages -  19721975, and 1978
    • Tells wages of those who repaired televisions, radios and electrical appliances.
  • Auto dealer repair shop wages - 1973
    • Tells wages, incentive pay and earnings for employees of automobile dealership repair shops, including automotive mechanics, car painters, body repairmen, lubrication men, “new-car get-ready men,” parts men and service salesmen.
  • Banking and life insurance job wages
    • 1971  [Life insurance jobs] - provides earnings data for secretaries, clerks, claims approvers, underwriters, and computer programmers working in this industry.
    • 1973 [Banking jobs] - wages paid to bank tellers, bookkeepers, secretaries, clerks, computer programmers, etc.]
    • 1976  [Both banking and life insurance jobs]
  • Box manufacturing - 1970 and 1976
    • Tells wages of those who worked in factories making boxes
  • Building trades - union wages by occupation and by city -
    1970 -19711971 - 19721973 - 19741974 - 19751975 - 19761976 - 1977
    • Includes asbestos workers, bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, painters, plasterers, plumbers, roofers, sheet metal workers, stonemasons, tile layers, and many more building occupations.
  • Bus driver wages by city -
    1970-19711971-19721972-19731973-19741975-19761978-1979
  • Candy making and confectionery industry - 1970 and 1975
    • Tells wages for factory jobs (candymakers) and other workers such as machinist, mechanic, janitor, watchman, etc.
  • Cigar manufacturing job wages - 1972 
  • Cigarette manufacturing job wages - 1971 and 1976 
  • Cleaning services wages (contract) - 1971 , 1974 , 1977 
    • Those employed in this industry typically worked at night sweeping floors, emptying wastebaskets and dusting furniture, sometimes wet-mopping, waxing floors or washing windows.  Be sure to look at hours as well, because many people with these jobs worked less than 20 hours per week (see summary for more overview.)  Breakouts for 33 metro areas.  Data reported for men and women workers.
  • Clothing and apparel manufacturing wages
    • Hosiery manufacturing wages - 1970 , 1973 , 1976 
    • Men’s and boys’ trouser manufacturing wages - 1971 , 1974 
    • Men’s and boys’ shirts and nightwear manufacturing wages - 1971 , 1974 
    • Men’s and boys’ suits and coats manufacturing wages - 1970 , 1973 , 1976 , 1979 
    • Men's shirts and trousers manufacturing wages - 1978 
    • Women’s and misses’ coats and suits manufacturing wages - 1970 
    • Women’s and misses’ dress manufacturing wages - 1971 , 1974 , 1977 
    • Work clothing manufacturing industry - Wages and demographic characteristics - 1972 
  • Communications industry wages -
    1970 , 1971 , 1973 , 1974 , 1975 , 1976 , 1977 , 1978 , 1979 
    • Tells average hourly wages for employees working at telephone companies and for Western Union.  Data is broken out by occupation such as accountants, clerical staff, salespeople, telephone operators, construction/installers, repairmen, and more.
  • Construction wages (contract) - 1972 and 1973 
    • Shows average wages for carpenters, bricklayers, bulldozer operators, back-hoe operators, truck drivers, cement masons, electricians, pipefitters, plumbers, roofers, sheet metal workers, etc.  Breaks out wages by residential or commercial type construction in dozens of different metro areas, and by level of employee experience.
  • Dairy industry wages - 1973
    • The dairy industry employed route drivers, stationary engineers, mechanics to keep the company trucks good repair, garage attendants, sanitization workers, etc.  Ten years before this report came out, almost all households had milk delivered directly to the home.  The introduction of paper cartons eliminated the delivery of milk in glass bottles to homes.  This report reflects the difference in occupations in this industry.
  • Department store job wages - 1973
    • Shows wages for sales clerks by department (housewares, men's clothing, floor coverings, shoes, sporting goods, etc.) for full-time and part-time workers by city.
  • Electric and gas utilities - 1972 and 1978 
    • Wages for workers in plants that generated electricity by burning fossil fuel, or in nuclear power plants, hydroelectric power plants, etc. and workers at utilities that distributed natural gas.  
  • Farm labor wages - 1930-present
    • The periodical Farm Labor has been in publication for nearly 90 years. It was originally published monthly, and then became a quarterly. Wages expressed in dollars can be found in every issue, it seems. After clicking on the link above, scroll down the section titled "Previous Releases."
  • Fertilizer industry job wages by state - 1971
    • Occupations in the fertilizer industry included baggers, truckers, forklift operators, mixers, weighers, watchmen, etc.  This report tells the average wages for each of these occupations by state.  
  • Flour and grain mill products industry wages - 1972
    • Occupations in the flour and grain mill industry included millwrights, mechanics, oilers, packers, bolters, forklift operators and more. Other parts of this report tell about job benefits, etc.
  • Footwear manufacturing wages - 1971 and 1975 
  • Foundries, iron and steel - job wages - 1973 and 1979
  • Foundries, iron and steel - job wages - 1972 and 1978-1979
  • Foundries, nonferrous metals - job wages 1970 and 1975
  • Furniture manufacture, wood household - wages - 1971 , 1974 , 1979
  • Glass and glassware manufacturing job wages - 1970  and 1975
  • Government employee salaries and wages at the city level - 1970s
  • Municipal Government Wage Survey volumes tell pay and benefits for workers employed by selected city governments. Typical occupational breakouts include firefighters, police, sanitation workers, building inspectors, surveyors, carpenters, painters, plumbers, groundskeepers, computer technicians, typists, librarians, library clerks and assistants, etc.. Full text in Hathi Trust for Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Phoenix, San Francisco, St. Paul, Wichita, and possibly more.  Additional cities (such as St. Louis) are available in the library's print collection.
  • Government employee compensation at the state level - 1972 
  • Grain mill product industry wages - 1977
  • Grocery stores - union wages and hours by city - 1971, 1973, 1975
    • Wage rates for cashiers, bakers, dairy workers, baggers, meat men, produce stockers, porters, and more.  68 cities included.
  • Hotel and motel job wages - 1973 and 1978
    • Shows wages for food service workers, bartenders, waiters and waitresses, porters, elevator operators, room clerks, hotel maids, cooks, dishwashers, pantry workers, security guards, and maintenance crew mechanics.  Hourly wage averages are broken out for 24 major American cities.
  • Industrial chemical manufacturing job wages - 1971 and 1976
  • Iron and steel foundry job wages - 19721973 and 1979
  • Leather tanning and finishing job wages - 1973
  • Local-transit employees - Hours and wages by city - 
    1970-1971, 1971-1972, 1972-1973, 1973-1974, 1975-1976, 1978-1979
    • Gives wage data for city bus drivers, trolley car operators, subway and elevated train personnel, including conductors, platform men, etc. 
  • Machinery manufacturing job wages- 1970-1971 , 1973 , 1974-1975 , 1978 
  • Meat products industry job wages - 1974 and 1979
    • Reports average wages in meatpacking and slaughtering plants, mainly hogs and cattle.
  • Medical and health industries 
    • Physicians, dentists and other health workers' median incomes - 1970-1976
    • Physicians fees (includes median earnings by specialty) - 1970s
    • Nursing homes and related facilities job wages - 1973 and 1976
    • Hospital job wages - 1972 and 1975-1976
      • Shows average hourly wages for nurse supervisors, head nurses and general duty nurses, LPNs (licensed practical nurses), nursing aides, ward clerks, radiologic (x-ray) technicians, surgical technicians, kitchen helpers, switchboard operators, maids and porters.  Gives average wage for each of these occupations in 21 major cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Philadelphia, Portland OR, St. Lois, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC.
    • Hospital and nursing home job wages - 1978
      • Shows average hourly wage for nurse supervisors, head nurses and general duty nurses, LPNs, nursing aides, ward clerks, laboratory technicians, medical technologists, physical therapists, radiologic technicians, respiratory therapists, surgical technicians, food service helpers and cleaning crews.  Data is reported for 22 major cities in the United States. 
  • Metal industry, fabricated structural - Job wages, 1974 and 1979​ 
  • Mining industry job wages - 1972 and 1977
  • Millwork jobs - 1979 
  • Motor vehicles and parts manufacture - 1973 and 1974 
  • Oil and gas extraction job wages - 1977 
  • Paints and varnish manufacturing job wages - 1970 and 1976 
  • Petroleum refining job wages - 1971 and 1976 
  • Petroleum (crude) and natural gas production job wages - 1972
    • Shows wages for gasmen, derrickmen, oil field welders, roustabouts, drillers, pumpers, and more.
  • Plastics industry job wages - 1974 and 1979
  • Printing Trades - Union Wages and Hours
  • Private Nonagricultural Employment, Annual Earnings and Employment Patterns -  1970, 1971-19721973-1975
    • This multi-volume source tells what workers earned in what seems every industry except agriculture.  It is great for the sort of jobs you cannot find elsewhere on this page, such as jobs in religious organizations, deep sea transportation, mail order houses, gasoline service stations, shoe stores, savings and loan associations, photography studios, hair salons and barber shops, motion picture theaters, museums and zoos, charitable organizations and more.  Reports nationwide figures by race and sex of employee.
  • Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard Mills - 1972 and 1977 
  • Restaurant and hotel wages and tips - 1970
    • Wages for bartenders, waiters and waitresses, bus boys and bus girls, bellmen, and chambermaids.
  • Semiconductor manufacturing -  1977
  • Shipbuilding and repairing job wages - 1976 
  • Structural clay products industry job wages- 1975 
  • Synthetic fiber industry job wages - 1970 and 1976 
  • Textile dyeing and finishing job wages - 1970 and 1976 
  • Textile manufacturing job wages - 1971 and 1975 
  • Truckdrivers and Helpers - Union Wages and Hours - 1970s

Additional sources for earnings data

Prices, 1970-1979

HOUSING PRICES

TRANSPORTATION PRICES

COLLEGE EDUCATION PRICES

MISCELLANEOUS PRICES

Buying power of historic wages expressed in today's dollars

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