April 23, 2003
In 2002, the ratio of women’s earnings to men’s increased to 78 percent, from 76 percent a year earlier.
Since 1979, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began regularly collecting information on usual weekly earnings in the CPS, the ratio of women’s to men’s earnings has increased by 15 percentage points.
Women who usually worked full time in 2002 had median earnings of $531 per week, compared with the $685 median for men. The female-to-male earnings ratios were higher among blacks (90 percent) and Hispanics (87 percent) than among whites (78 percent).
It is important to remember that many factors may underlie the disparity between the earnings of men and women: differences in work schedules, educational attainment, length of experience in the workforce, occupational and industry makeup of each group, and discrimination, for examples.
These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information on labor market trends in 2002, see "U.S. labor market in 2002: continued weakness," by Terence M. McMenamin, Rachel Krantz, and Thomas J. Krolik, Monthly Labor Review, February 2003.