One of the most challenging tasks a business owner faces is setting or negotiating salaries. Here are various resources provided by U.S. federal and state government agencies that will enable you to make general comparisons to salaries and wages paid in various occupations and regions. A word of caution: Each hiring situation is unique, however, so use these resources for context, not necessarily guidance.

Earnings by Occupation and Education (U.S. Census)

Reports earnings by state, education, occupation and gender compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Income Data (U.S. Census)

Shares income statistics from several major household surveys and programs from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Income Statistics in Brief

Databases, tables and calculators by subject from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

National Compensation Survey

Another resource from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Provides comprehensive measures of wages, employment cost trends and benefit incidence and detailed plan provisions, tabulated by the National Compensation Survey (NCS).

Poverty Data (U.S. Census)

Gives poverty data from several major household surveys and programs.

Real Earnings (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Reports average hourly salary per month.

Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers

Gives reports on the usual weekly earnings of wage and salary workers.

(via: SBA.gov)

Know of more government-provided statistical resources related to salaries? Send them to [email protected].

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