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August 13, 2010

HR Fact Friday: Gap in Female vs. Male Income Not Closing

Filed under: Compensation,Salaries & Pay — Tags: , , , 10:49 am

Women in New York state earned a median weekly income last year of $720, or about 84 percent of the $858 earned by men in the state, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday, August 10.

Women in the Empire State fared better than other women across the country, who earned a median income of $657, or 80 percent of the $819 nationwide median income brought in by men. But the gap between male and female salaries in New York did not narrow from 2008, when it reached a record high. The numbers reflect workers in full-time wage and salary positions.

“In terms of women making strides, the ratios haven’t changed a lot in the last few years,” said Martin Kohli, a BLS regional economist. “Women have not been making additional gains in terms of closing the wage gap.”

Kohli attributed the relative strength of New York women’s wages in part to the mix of industries in which local workers are employed. Men in New York are more likely than men in other states to be employed in service jobs, such as security guards and food workers, which pay a median weekly wage of $470. In New York, 17.2 percent of men are employed in the service sector, versus just 12.9 percent nationwide.

Meanwhile, factory jobs, which pay a median of $610 a week nationally, are much less common among New York men. Just 4.9 percent of men here work in factories, compared with 8.8 percent nationwide.

“The surprising thing is men who live and work in New York just don’t make a lot,” Kohli said. “A lot of the service jobs, like janitors, are just not particularly high-paying jobs.”

One area in which women in New York were less likely than women in the rest of the country to be employed was in high-paying management, business and financial jobs, which pay $1,138 a week. Nationwide, 16.2 percent of those jobs are held by women, versus just 12.7 percent in New York.

Nationally, the median weekly earnings of women ranged from $518 in Louisiana to $938 in the District of Columbia. In the Northeast, women in Pennsylvania and Maine were the only ones to fall below the national average.

Connecticut’s women had the highest median wage in the northeast, at $824. The state also had the highest wage for men, who earned $1,099.  

Source: Daniel Massey, Crain’s New York Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management.


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