Report: Oregon women earn 80 pct. of men's pay

New federal stats find pay gap narrowed slightly in 2011

SAN FRANCISCO - Oregon women's median income was about 80 percent of men's in 2011, a gap narrowed by less than a half-percent from the previous year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday.

Oregon women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median weekly earnings of $701, or 79.9 percent of the $877 median weekly earnings for their male counterparts, the agency's report said.

Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that the women's to men's earnings ratio in Oregon increased 0.3 percentage points from the previous year. Nationwide, women earned $684 per week, or 82.2 percent of the $832 median for men.

In Oregon, the ratio of women's to men's earnings has ranged from a low of 72.2 percent in 1998 to a high of 82.4 percent in 2006. The ratio has been generally trending upwards over the past decade.

Women's earnings as a percent of men's in Oregon ranked 30th in the nation among all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Women's weekly earnings in Oregon ranked 17th, and men's 16th, nationwide.

Among the 50 states, median weekly earnings of women in full-time wage and salary positions in 2011ranged from $564 in Montana to $878 in Connecticut. States with the highest wages for women were located along the Eastern Seaboard. In addition to Connecticut, women's earnings in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maryland were also above $800, followed by New York at $760 per week.

Across the nation, median weekly earnings for men were lowest in Arkansas at $675 and highest in Connecticut at $1,106. Four of the five highest-paying states for full-time male workers (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Hampshire) were located along the Northeast coastline. The sole exception was on the West Coast – Washington.

The ratio of female-to-male earnings in 2011 varied across the nation, ranging from 68.7 percent in Louisiana to 89.9 percent in California. Two other Western states followed California in the ranking — Arizona at 88.5 percent and Nevada at 88.4 percent.

The differences among the states reflect, in part, variation in the occupations and industries found in each state and in the age
composition of each state's labor force. In addition, comparisons by gender are on a broad level and do not control for factors such as educational attainment which can be significant in explaining earnings differences.

For more information on the median weekly earnings of women and men, see Bureau of Labor Statistics Report 1038, Highlights of Women's Earnings in 2011, issued in October 2012; copies are available on the Internet at www.bls.gov/cps/cpswom2011.pdf

The estimates in this report were obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which provides a wide range of information on the labor force, employment, and unemployment. This survey is conducted monthly for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau, using a national sample of about 60,000 households, with coverage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The earnings data are collected from one-fourth of the CPS monthly sample.

Statistics based on the CPS data are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error. The differences among data for the states reflect, in part, variations in the occupation, industry, and age composition of each state's labor force. In addition, sampling error for the state estimates is considerably larger than it is for the national data.

The principal definitions used in connection with the earnings series in this release are described below.

Usual weekly earnings. Data represent earnings before taxes and other deductions and include any overtime pay, commissions, or tips usually received (at the main job in the case of multiple jobholders.)

Median weekly earnings. The median is the amount which divides a given earnings distribution into two equal groups, one having earnings above the median and the other having earnings below the median.

Wage and salary workers. Workers who receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips, payment in kind, or piece rates. The group includes employees in both the private and public sectors but, for the purposes of the earnings series, excludes all self-employed persons, regardless of whether or not their businesses are incorporated.

Full-time worker. Workers who usually work 35 hours or more per week at their sole or principal job.

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