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Oregon women's earnings gap trimmed, feds say

Women's to men's earnings ratio tops U.S. average

SAN FRANCISCO - In 2016, Oregon women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $791, or 87.5 percent of the $904 median usual weekly earnings of their male counterparts, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday.

BLS Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Richard Holden noted that the 2016 women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio in Oregon rose from 2015, up 4.5 percentage points. Nationwide, women earned $749 per week, or 81.9 percent of the $915 median for men.

The earnings comparisons are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be significant in explaining earnings differences, such as job skills and responsibilities, work experience, and specialization.

In Oregon, the women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio has ranged from a low of 72.2 percent in 1998 to a high of 87.5 percent in 2016. The earnings ratio in the state has remained above 80.0 percent since 2012. Data for the states began in 1997.

Among the 50 states, median weekly earnings of women in full-time wage and salary positions in 2016 ranged from $624 in Mississippi to $932 in Massachusetts. In addition to Massachusetts, women’s earnings in Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey were above $875 per week. In the District of Columbia, women earned a median weekly wage of $1,117.

Median weekly earnings for men were lowest in Arkansas at $769 and highest in Connecticut at $1,164. Two other states (Massachusetts and New Jersey) had weekly wages above $1,100 for full-time male workers. In the District of Columbia, men earned a median weekly wage of $1,274.

Vermont had the highest women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio among the states, 90.2 percent, and Utah had the lowest, 69.9 percent. The District of Columbia had a ratio of 87.7 percent.

T he differences among the states reflect, in part, variation in the occupations and industries found in each state and differences in the demographic composition of each state’s labor force. In addition, sampling error for state estimates is considerably larger than it is for the national estimates. Thus, earnings comparisons between states should be made with caution.

Technical Note

The estimates in this release were obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which provides information on the labor force, employment, and unemployment. This survey is conducted monthly for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau, using a scientifically selected national sample of about 60,000 eligible households, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The earnings data are collected from one-fourth of the CPS monthly sample and are limited to wage and salary workers. All self-employed workers, both incorporated and unincorporated, are excluded from the data presented in this report.

Statistics based on the CPS data are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error. Further information about the reliability of data from the CPS is available on the CPS Technical Documentation page of the BLS website.

The principal concepts and definitions used in connection with the earnings data in this release are described briefly below.

Usual weekly earnings. The 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). Respondents are asked to identify the easiest way for them to report earnings (hourly, weekly, biweekly, twice monthly, monthly, annually, or other) and how much they usually earn in the reported time period. Earnings reported on a basis other than weekly are converted to a weekly equivalent. The term “usual” is determined by each respondent’s own understanding of the term.

Medians of usual weekly earnings. The earnings estimates shown in this release are medians. The median is the midpoint in a given earnings distribution, with half of workers having earnings above the median and the other half having earnings below the median.

Wage and salary workers. These are workers age 16 and older who receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips, payments in kind, or piece rates on their sole or principal job. This group includes employees in both the public and private sectors. All self-employed workers are excluded whether or not their businesses are incorporated.

Full-time worker. People who usually work 35 hours or more per week at their sole or principal job are defined as working full time for the purpose of these estimates.

For more information on the median weekly earnings of women and men, see Bureau of Labor Statistics Report 1069, Highlights of women’s earnings in 2016, available at https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/womens-earnings/2016/pdf/home.pdf.


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