California fails to lead in women’s pay
February 14, 2017
• Women’s to men’s earnings ratio now just the 8th highest in nation
• But it decreased 4.5 percentage points from the previous year
In 2015, California women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $775, or 84.8 percent of the $914 median usual weekly earnings for their male counterparts, according to a new report Tuesday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Richard Holden says the women’s to men’s earnings ratio in California decreased 4.5 percentage points from the previous year.
At 84.8 percent, women’s earnings as a percent of men’s in California ranked 8th highest in the nation. Women’s weekly earnings in California ranked 12th, and men’s 18th, among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Nationwide, women earned $726 per week, or 81.1 percent of the $895 median for men.
In California, the ratio of women’s to men’s earnings has ranged from a low of 82.9 percent in 2001 to a high of 90.2 percent in 2005. The ratio in 2015 was the lowest since 2002.
Among the 50 states, median weekly earnings of women in full-time wage and salary positions in 2015 ranged from $591 in Mississippi to $907 in Massachusetts. In addition to Massachusetts, women’s earnings in Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Virginia were at or above $825 per week. In the District of Columbia, women earned a median weekly wage of $1,070.
Median weekly earnings for men were lowest in Tennessee at $756 and highest in Connecticut at $1,139. Six other states (Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Alaska, Virginia, and Washington) had weekly wages above $1,000 for full-time male workers. In the District of Columbia, men earned a median weekly wage of $1,224.
Hawaii had the highest female-to-male earnings ratio among the states, 87.9 percent, and Wyoming had the lowest, 69.0 percent. The District of Columbia had a ratio of 87.4 percent.
The 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, earnings comparisons by gender are on a broad level and do not control for factors that can be significant in explaining earnings differences, such as job skills and responsibilities, work experience, and specialization.
About the data
The estimates 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. The differences among data for 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 general, the sampling error for the state estimates is considerably larger than it is for the national data; thus, comparisons of state estimates should be made with caution.