Honolulu wages perk up

The average hourly wage has
risen 2.7 percent to $18.32

Workers in the Honolulu metropolitan area earned an average $18.32 an hour in February, a 2.7 percent increase over the same period in 2002, according to a federal report released yesterday.

That's approximately a 1.6 percent gain in real income when adjusted for the city's cost of living increase, which was pegged at 1.1 percent during the same general period, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

The bureau's latest national report in June put the average hourly wage across the country at $17.18 an hour in July of 2002, 6 percent below Honolulu's February figure and 3.7 percent below Honolulu's year-before figure.

Part of the Honolulu hourly wage study period included the Jan. 1 increase in the state's minimum hourly wage from $5.75 to $6.25, but spokesman Todd Johnson in the bureau's San Francisco office said that impact would have been minimal.

Truck drivers in Honolulu earn an average of $12.07 an hour, according to a new federal report.

For example, food counter workers earning an average $6.57 in the 2002 report are listed at $6.63 in this year's report, an increase of less than 1 percent.

Honolulu's white-collar workers, who account for 54 percent of the work force, averaged $22.58 an hour, a 1.5 percent increase over the previous year.

Blue-collar workers, making up 17 percent of the work force, earned an average $16.23 an hour, also up 1.5 percent.

The 29 percent of the work force in service occupations earned an average $10.82 an hour in February, compared to $10.37 in February 2002, a 4.3 percent increase.

The bureau's report on "straight-time" earnings looked at private, state, city and county government organizations with 50 or more employees and excluded agriculture, self-employed and federal workers.

Surveyed were 244 employers with 187,300 workers, 74 percent of which are in the private sector.

The average hourly pay for state and local government employees is 20 percent more than in private industry -- $20.01 in government and $17.42 in private industry.

Among white-collar workers, financial managers averaged $30.59 an hour while registered nurses earned $29.05, hotel clerks $15 and cashiers $9.37.

In the blue-collar category, plumbers, pipe fitters and steamfitters earned $20.81 an hour, construction laborers $19.73 and truck drivers $12.07.

In the service occupations, cooks averaged $12.74 an hour, nursing aides, orderly and attendants $12.28 and baggage porters and bellhops $6.86, not counting tips.

Union representation counts, according to the statistics.

Full-time blue-collar employees covered by collective bargaining averaged $19.04 per hour while nonunion employees in the same trade made $12.18.

In the service area, unionized employees collected an average $13.38 while the nonunion workers earned $9.18.


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