Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Typical wages in 1860 through 1890

Found a great resource that provides a frame of reference for wages in the last half of the 1800s. It is from the National Bureau of Economic Research:

Wages and Earnings in the United States, 1860-1890

Perhaps there are better resources. I’ll go with this.

In table 39, you can find average daily or hourly wages in five skilled occupations. Count this as skilled tradesmen.  In table 43 you can find the average wages for common labor. Count this as unskilled labor, perhaps equivalent to minimum wage today.

I will go with the Aldrich report data which is hourly wages. It appears the standard is 10 hours a day. I will go six days a week to get weekly income.

Here is the average hourly wage:

  • Occupation 1860,  1870,  1880,  1890
  • blacksmith, 0.178, 0.304, 0.259, 0.271
  • carpenter,    0.182, 0.410, 0.276, 0.322
  • machinist    0.158, 0.260, 0.227, 0.243
  • laborers,      0.098, 0.156, 0.135, 0.151

Here is the average weekly wage for 60 hours a week:

  • Occupation 1860,  1870,  1880,  1890
  • blacksmith, 10.68, 18.24, 15.54, 16.26
  • carpenter,    10.92, 24.60, 16.56, 19.32
  • machinist,     9.48, 15.60, 13.62, 14.58
  • laborers,        5.88,   9.36,   8.10,   9.06

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3 thoughts on “Typical wages in 1860 through 1890

  1. Pingback: Travel cost by stagecoach in 1870s – part two « Outrun Change

  2. Pingback: In terms of hours labor it took to pay for a stamp, what was the cost to send a half-ounce letter cross-country on the Pony Express? Would you believe about half the cost to send yourself across the country now? « Outrun Change

  3. I UNDERSTAND Civil War pensions were about $24.00 a month in 1890 after the veteran had fought for thirty years to get compensation.

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