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Prices and Wages by Decade: 1980-1989

Links to government documents and primary sources listing retail prices for products and services, as well as wages for common occupations.

Wages in the United States, 1980-1989

SPECIAL POPULATIONS

Earnings by race, sex and educational attainment, 1980-1989

EARNINGS by SEX, 1980s

WHITE PERSONS' EARNINGS BY SEX, 1980

Mean hourly and annual earnings reported in the 1980 Census, Special Report: Earnings by Occupation and Education.  The Census Bureau also has a digitized copy of this volume available on its website.

BLACK PERSONS' EARNINGS BY OCCUPATION AND SEX, 1980

Mean hourly and annual earnings reported in the 1980 Census, Special Report: Earnings by Occupation and Education.  The Census Bureau also has a digitized copy of this volume available on its website.

HISPANIC PERSONS' EARNINGS BY OCCUPATION AND SEX, 1980

Mean hourly and annual earnings reported in the 1980 Census, Special Report: Earnings by Occupation and Education.  The Census Bureau also has a digitized copy of this volume available on its website.

ASIAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER EARNINGS BY OCCUPATION AND SEX, 1980

Mean hourly and annual earnings reported in the 1980 Census, Special Report: Earnings by Occupation and Education.  The Census Bureau also has a digitized copy of this volume available on its website.

AMERICAN INDIAN, ESKIMO AND ALEUT  EARNINGS BY SEX, 1980

Mean hourly and annual earnings reported in the 1980 Census, Special Report: Earnings by Occupation and Education.  The Census Bureau also has a digitized copy of this volume available on its website.

Wages by industry and occupation, 1980s

Unless otherwise noted, the following listings refer to Industry Wage Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Bulletin series. Listings followed by a 'source' link are from the BLS Monthly Labor Review

Unless otherwise noted, the following listings refer to Industry Wage Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Bulletin series. Listings followed by a 'source' link are from the BLS Monthly Labor Review

Unless otherwise noted, the following listings refer to Industry Wage Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Bulletin series. Listings followed by a 'source' link are from the BLS Monthly Labor Review

Unless otherwise noted, the following listings refer to Industry Wage Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Bulletin series. Listings followed by a 'source' link are from the BLS Monthly Labor Review

Unless otherwise noted, the following listings refer to Industry Wage Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Bulletin series. Listings followed by a 'source' link are from the BLS Monthly Labor Review

Unless otherwise noted, the following listings refer to Industry Wage Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Bulletin series. Listings followed by a 'source' link are from the BLS Monthly Labor Review

Unless otherwise noted, the following listings refer to Industry Wage Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Bulletin series. Listings followed by a 'source' link are from the BLS Monthly Labor Review

  • High technology industry job wages
  • Hosiery manufacturing industry job wages
  • Hospital job wages
  • Hotel and motel job wages
    Includes occupations such as bell boys, porters, housekeepers / maids, waiters and waitresses, bartenders, cooks, dishwashers, checkout cashiers, maintenance workers and stationary engineers.  Reports pay by metro areas, including Atlantic city, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, Washington DC, Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Denver, Los Angeles, Oakland CA, San Diego and San Francisco.

Unless otherwise noted, the following listings refer to Industry Wage Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Bulletin series. Listings followed by a 'source' link are from the BLS Monthly Labor Review

  • Iron and steel foundry job wages
  • Iron and steel industry job wages
  • Lawyer fees
  • Librarian salaries at research institutions - 1982, 1983, 1984.
    • Source: Association of Research Libraries.
  • Life and health insurance job wages
  • Life insurance job wages 
    Earnings of actuaries, claim approvers, underwriters, etc.

Unless otherwise noted, the following listings refer to Industry Wage Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Bulletin series. Listings followed by a 'source' link are from the BLS Monthly Labor Review

Unless otherwise noted, the following listings refer to Industry Wage Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Bulletin series. Listings followed by a 'source' link are from the BLS Monthly Labor Review

Unless otherwise noted, the following listings refer to Industry Wage Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Bulletin series. Listings followed by a 'source' link are from the BLS Monthly Labor Review

  • Savings and loan associations job wages
  • Self-employed
  • Shipbuilding and repairing job wages
  • Sports, professional - Salaries
    • Baseball, 1970-1996
      • This article investigates the history of major league baseball players' salaries; table 1 (page 5) shows average and median annual salaries for 1970-1996, table 2 (page 6) shows the average salaries for the highest and lowest playing teams for select years 1980-1995, and table 4 (page 7) shows minimum baseball salaries for 1967-1997 (source).
    • Team sports, 1984-1997
      • This article explores salary caps for basketball, football, baseball, and hockey players.It included tables showing the average salaries for each sport (source).
  • Stockbrokers
    • This article from Kiplinger Magazine's Changing Times explores, among other things, the income and earnings of stockbrokers in 1984.
  • Structural clay product industry job wages
  • Synthetic fiber manufacturing job wages
  • Teachers (instructional employees of metropolitan governments)
  • Textile mills and textile dying and finishing plant wages
  • Wood household furniture manufacturing job wages

Wages by location (selected occupations), 1980-1989

Click on a state tab above to see metro area reports. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Area Wage Survey series for metropolitan areas were published as part of the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics bulletin series.  They show wages and salaries for occupations such as secretary, stenographer, file clerk, messenger, typist, switchboard operator, order clerk, accounting clerk, payroll clerk, key entry operator, computer systems analyst, computer programmer, drafter, electronics technician, registered industrial nurse, maintenance carpenter, electrician, painter, machinist, mechanic, millwright, sheet-metal worker, pipe fitter, truck driver, stationary engineer, guard, janitor, and more.

Wages, salaries and earnings in Alabama --1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Arkansas metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in California metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Colorado metro areas - 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Connecticut metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Delaware -- 1980s

  • Wilmington, Delaware-New Jersey-Maryland, Metropolitan Area

Wages, salaries and earnings in the District of Columbia - 1980s

  • Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia, Metropolitan Area

Wages, salaries and earnings in Florida metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Georgia metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Illinois metro areas -- 1980s

See also Illinois Statewide Wage and Salary Survey of Selected Occupations, September 1980, published by the Illnois Bureau of Employment Security, Research and Analysis.  This state-produced source lists wages by region of the state, then by occupation.  

Wages, salaries and earnings in Indiana metro areas - 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Iowa metro areas - 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Kansas metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Kentucky metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Louisiana metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Maine -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Maryland metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Massachusetts metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Michigan metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Minnesota metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Mississippi metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Missouri metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Montana -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Nebraska -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in New Jersey metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in New York metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in North Carolina -- 1980s

  • Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, North Carolina-South Carolina, Metropolitan Area
  • Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, North Carolina, Metropolitan Area
  • Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Portsmouth, Virginia-North Carolina, Metropolitan Area

Wages, salaries and earnings in Ohio metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Oklahoma -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Oregon -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Pennsylvania metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Rhode Island -- 1980s

  • Providence-Warwick-Pawtucket, Rhode Island-Massachusetts, Metropolitan Area

Wages, salaries and earnings in South Carolina metro areas -- 1980s

  • Augusta, Georgia-South Carolina, Metropolitan Area
  • Charleston, South Carolina, Metropolitan Area
  • Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, North Carolina-South Carolina, Metropolitan Area
  • Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina, Metropolitan Area

Wages, salaries and earnings in Tennessee -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Texas metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Utah -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Virginia metro areas -- 1980s

  • Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Portsmouth, Virginia-North Carolina, Metropolitan Area
  • Richmond, Virginia, Metropolitan Area
  • Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia, Metropolitan Area
  • Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia, Metropolitan Area

Wages, salaries and earnings in Washington state metro areas -- 1980s

Wages, salaries and earnings in Wisconsin metro areas -- 1980s

Total income and non-wage sources of income, 1980-1989

Foreign wages by country, 1980-1989

Prices in the United States, 1980-1989

PRICES for FOOD and DRINK, 1980s

PRICES for MERCHANDISE, 1980s

PRICES for HOUSING, 1980s

LAND

HEALTH PRICES, 1980s

PRICES for COMMUNICATION, 1980s

See box below.

COST of a COLLEGE EDUCATION, 1980s

In 1980, 32% of people aged 18-21 were enrolled in college (U.S. Census) and 17% of people aged 25 years or older have completed 4 years (U.S. Census, Table A-2).

PRICES for SERVICES, 1980s

ENERGY PRICES, 1980s

ENTERTAINMENT PRICES, 1980s

FARMING PRICES, 1980s

Transportation costs, 1980-1989

Inflation and Buying Power, 1980s

What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?

"The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of consumer goods and services" with respect to a given base year with value 100. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is inflation?

As measured with CPI, it is the percent change in the CPI between two different years, showing the "annual percentage change in the cost to the average consumer of acquiring a basket of goods and services". Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

CPI Inflation Formula: CPIx-1-CPIxCPIx*100

Consumer expenditures, 1980-1989

Foreign prices by country, 1980-1989

Quotable facts for the 1980-1989 decade

In the United States...

  • Minimum wage was $3.10 per hour in 1980. Source: U.S. Dept of Labor
  • Homes had a median value of $47,200 in 1980. Source: Census Bureau
  • The Social Security benefit for retired individuals averaged $294.86 per month in January 1980.  Source: SSA
  • Coffee cost $3.20 per lb. in 1980.  Source: U.S. BLS (use drop-down box to select year)
  • Education at 4-year, public universities cost an average of $2,474 for tuition, fees, room & board in 1979-1980. Source: U.S. Dept of Education
  • TRANSPORTATION
    • New cars cost an average of $7,591 in 1980. Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
    • The top selling car in America in 1980 was the Oldsmobile Cutlass, which sold for $6,204 new. Source: MMVA Motor Vehicle Facts & Figures '83.
    • Gasoline cost an average of 86¢ per gallon in 1980. Source: Energy Information Administration
    • 17.5% of U.S. households in 1980 had 3 or more vehicles, compared to 2.5% in 1960. Source: U.S. Dept of Energy
  • HEALTH CARE PERSONAL EXPENDITURES
    • In 1980, health care costs averaged $930 per person. Consumer out-of-pocket payments covered 25.8%.  Source: U.S. NCHS
    • In 1986, the average prescription cost $14.36. Source: congressional hearing.

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Marie Concannon, Government Information Librarian
Government Documents Department
106B Ellis Library (1st Floor East)
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Phone (573) 882-0748