In 2019, Alaska women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $878, or 80.0 percent of the $1,097 median usual weekly earnings of their male counterparts, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Richard Holden noted that the 2019 women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio of 80.0 percent compared to 79.3 percent in 2018. Nationwide, women earned $821 per week or 81.5 percent of the $1,007 median for men. (See chart 1 and table 1. The earnings comparisons in this release are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences, such as job skills and responsibilities, work experience, and specialization.)

In Alaska, the women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio has ranged from a low of 70.9 percent in both 1998 and 1999 to a high of 82.9 percent in 2016. The state’s ratio has been 80.0 percent or higher in three of the past four years. (See chart 1. Data for the states began in 1997.)

Chart 1. Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s, full time wage and salary workers, the United States and Alaska, 2009-2019 annual averages

Among the 50 states, median weekly earnings of women in full-time wage and salary positions in 2019 ranged from $669 in Mississippi to $1,017 in Maryland. In addition to Maryland, women’s earnings in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia exceeded $1,000 per week. (See table 1 and chart 2.)

Median weekly earnings for men were lowest in Mississippi at $830 and highest in New Jersey at $1,176. Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia had weekly wages above $1,000 for full-time male workers.

Maryland had the highest women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio among the states, 89.1 percent, and Wyoming had the lowest, 72.5 percent. The District of Columbia had a ratio of 90.7 percent. (See chart 3.) 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, sampling error for state estimates is considerably larger than it is for the national estimates. Consequently, 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. The survey is conducted monthly for the U.S. 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 survey data on earnings are based on 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 release.

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 reflect 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.

The median of usual weekly earnings reflects 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 are people 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 workers are defined for the purposes of these estimates as those who usually work 35 hours or more per week at their sole or principal job.

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