Women's Earnings In California – 2008
In 2008, women who were full-time wage and salary workers in California had median weekly earnings
of $738, or about 87 percent of the $852 median for their male counterparts, the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted the ratio reported in
California has decreased from a high of just over 90 percent in 2005.
Nationwide, women earned $638, or approximately 80 percent of the $798 median for men in 2008. At the national level, the ratio of women’s to men’s earnings has narrowed from 62 percent in 1979, the first year for which comparable earnings data are available. After a gradual rise in the 1980s and 1990s, the ratio peaked at 81 percent in 2005 and 2006. Over this period, the women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio in California consistently remained above national numbers. (See chart 1.) Readers should note that the comparisons of earnings in this report are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be significant in explaining earnings differences.
Nationally, the median weekly earnings of women in full-time wage and salary positions ranged from $510 in Mississippi to $866 in the District of Columbia. Within the Pacific division of the country, of which California is one of five states, only Oregon fell below the national average.1 Alaska and Washington joined California with median wages above $700 for women in the Pacific division.
Across the nation, median weekly earnings for men were lowest in Arkansas at $640. Men in Connecticut received the highest wage at $1,057. In the Pacific division, Hawaii and Oregon fell below the national average for men’s earnings. Alaska and Washington both had median wages above $900 for men in the Pacific division.
The ratio of female-to-male earnings in 2008 varied across the nation, ranging from 68 percent in Wyoming to 92 percent in the District of Columbia. (See table 1.) Within the Pacific division, only California and Hawaii exceeded the national ratio. 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, 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.
For more information on the median weekly earnings of women and men, see Bureau of Labor Statistics Report 1017, “Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2008,” issued July 2009; copies are available on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpswom2008.pdf or by calling the West Region Information Office at (415) 625-2270. Information in this release is also available to sensory impaired individuals. Voice phone: (202) 691- 5200; Federal Relay Service: 1–800–877–8339.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics