Women's earnings in NYS see little change compared to men's

Dec 23, 2019

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is out with its latest figures on women's earnings in New York State and the news is nothing to shout about.

Bruce Bergman, regional economist with the New York-New Jersey office of the BLS, said New York women working full-time earned 85.5% what men earned in 2018. That is little change from 2017 and lower than its high of 86.9% in 2015, but still higher than the national average of 81.1% and among the highest of all U.S. states.

Bergman said those percentages translate to median weekly earnings of $849 for women working full-time in New York, compared to $993 for men. He said, nationally, wage parity is greater among part-time workers than full-time.
    
"It's interesting there to note that, first of all, women were about twice as likely to work part-time than men," Bergman said, "and the earnings of these part-time workers in 2018, the median weekly earnings were $275 a week and that was actually slightly higher than the median for men."

The regional economist said the median figures represent a broad overview of the marketplace, while regional and occupational factors like "age" can push the numbers up or down.

"Overall, women's earnings as a percentage of men do seem to decline with age group," he said. "Young workers - 16-24 workers - women's as a percentage of men's is in the 90s. If you look at 55 and over, you're looking at 70s, mid 70s-low 70s, depending on the job."

Bergman said female fast-food workers and wait staff nationally actually see a 10% advantage compared to men, in part because of similar age and skill levels for those jobs. In other jobs, however, he said women earn less than 70% of men.

"The ratio of median women's earnings to median men's was 69.8% for Chief Executives," he said. "Financial managers not very different, about 70%. Physicians 66.7%."

Bergman said the BLS has tracked women's earnings compared to men since 1979. They were at a low 78.5% in New York in 2000, which was still higher than the national median that year. He said median earnings for women in New York have always been higher than the national median, although not the highest in the country.

California saw the highest women's-to-men's earnings ratio in 2018, at 88.3%, and Wyoming had the lowest, at 67.8%. Massachusetts saw the highest median weekly wages for women, at $995, while Misssissippi saw the lowest, at $637.

Median weekly earnings for men in 2018 were lowest in Arkansas, at $809, and highest in Massachusetts, at $1,170, according to the BLS. Five other states - Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Washington - had weekly wages above $1,100. Men in the District of Columbia earned a median weekly wage of $1,445.