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April 1982, Vol. 105, No. 4
Earnings of men and women:
a look at specific occupations
Nancy F. Rytina
As a result of growing concern over the persistence of earnings differences between men and women, policymakers, researchers, and others have become increasingly interested in obtaining earnings data by sex at the finest level of occupational detail possible. Wide-ranging information of this nature can generally be collected only through a household survey such as the Current Population Survey (CPS). Until 1978, reliable estimates of earnings from the CPS could generally be presented only for aggregated groupings of occupations because of the limited number of sample observations in many occupations. However, changes in the collection of the CPS earnings data since 1979 have made it possible to construct annual average estimates to examine the earnings for a much larger number of detailed occupations.1
This report presents 1981 annual average data on the number of men and women working full time in each occupation and on their usual weekly earnings. Earnings data are shown only where wage and salary employment is at least 50,000, because estimates of earnings derived from a smaller base are considered too unreliable to publish. For the most part, this allows earnings comparisons at the Census Bureau's "three-digit" level of classification of occupations.2 However, for occupational groupings which did not contain any three-digit occupation with a sufficiently large employment base, the data are shown for the two-digit occupations, the next higher level of aggregation. The use of two- as well as three-digit occupations increases the number of occupations among which earnings can be compared and also makes possible some comparisons between men and women that would otherwise have had to be ignored because there were either too few men or too few women employed in the occupation. For example, there are almost no male registered nurses (a three-digit occupational category), but the earnings of the sexes can be compared in the two-digit categorynurses, dieticians, and therapistsbecause the number of male workers exceeded 50,000 in the larger grouping.
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1 See Earl F. Mellor, Technical Description of the Quarterly Data on Weekly earnings from the Current Population survey, Bulletin 2113, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 1982.
2 The Census Bureau classifies occupations on the basis of one-, two-, and three-digit groupings. The one-digit classification is the least detailed and consists of the major occupations groups, for example, professional, technical, and kindred workers; managers, and administrators, except farm; and salesworkers. The three-digit classifications the most detailed. It includes specific occupations such as accountants, architects, aerospace and astronautical engineers, and civil engineers, all of whom come under the one-digit professional grouping. The two-digit classification is more detailed than the one-digit scheme and contains a number of broad occupations such as engineers and secretaries, under which are found such three-digit occupations as aerospace and astronautical engineers, or civil engineers, and legal secretaries, medical secretaries, and so forth.
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