Monday, August 27, 2018

Where Women Work and How Much They Earn

Nearly 873,000 jobs at Oregon businesses or state and local governments were held by women in 2016. Women represent 49 percent of employment in Oregon, but the share of jobs held by women varies considerably by industry.

Women’s average earnings were $3,444 per month in 2016, which was 69 percent of the $4,963 average monthly earnings of men. The average woman brings home $1,500 a month less than the average man. Like employment, the earnings of women relative to men vary by industry.

The average monthly paycheck for women is about two-thirds the average monthly paycheck for men, but this fact is not a very useful measure of gender pay inequality. Average monthly earnings figures do not take into account other factors affecting pay, such as total hours worked and hourly wages. Adjusting for the number of hours worked narrows the earnings gap between women and men, but still does not account for other factors that can significantly affect pay.

Women’s Average Earnings by Industry

Average monthly earnings of women were lower than that of men in every industry. The ratio of women’s to men’s earnings ranged from a relatively close 86 percent in accommodation and food services to a disparate 56 percent in arts, entertainment, and recreation, and in finance and insurance. There are many factors behind these disparities in earnings, such as the number of hours worked and the relative wages of occupations with higher concentrations of women, but that information is not available from this data source.
Women working in Oregon’s health care and social assistance sector have an average monthly paycheck of $3,696, which is just 62 percent of the men’s average. Women working in finance and insurance have a higher average paycheck than women in most other industries, but their earnings pale in comparison to what men are bringing in. With earnings just 56 percent of men’s, women in finance and insurance receive an average of $3,800 a month less than what men are making.

The smallest disparity is in accommodation and food services, where women’s earnings average 86 percent that of men’s. The large share of minimum wage earners in this industry likely contributes to this relative earnings equality. That near equity has a cost though, as average paychecks for both women and men were lower in accommodation and food services than in any other major industry.

Learn about women's employment by industry in "Where Women Work and How Much They Earn" by state employment economist Nick Beleiciks.  

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