Thursday, October 07, 2021
In 2020, California women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $993, or 87.6 percent of the $1,133 median usual weekly earnings of their male counterparts, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Chris Rosenlund noted that the 2020 women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio of 87.6 percent compared to 89.0 percent in 2019. Nationwide, women earned $891 per week, or 82.3 percent of the $1,082 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 California, the women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio has ranged from a low of 82.9 percent in 2001 to a high of 90.2 percent in 2005. (Data for the states began in 1997.)
Among the 50 states, median weekly earnings of women in full-time wage and salary positions in 2020 ranged from $675 in Mississippi to $1,166 in Connecticut. Women’s earnings in five other states (Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia) and the District of Columbia were at or above $1,000 per week. (See table 1 and chart 2.)
Median weekly earnings for men were lowest in Mississippi at $878 and highest in Massachusetts at $1,356. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia had weekly wages above $1,000 for full-time male workers.
Connecticut had the highest women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio among the states, 97.0 percent, and Utah had the lowest, 72.7 percent. The District of Columbia had a ratio of 85.6 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.
Data on median weekly earnings for 2020 reflect the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the labor market. Comparisons with data on earnings for earlier years should be interpreted with caution. Large declines in employment in 2020, particularly among low-wage workers (who were disproportionately affected by job loss related to the pandemic), resulted in changes in the median earnings distribution. This large and abrupt shift in the earnings distribution during the year manifested as an upward bump in the rate of earnings growth in 2020; however, the underlying rate of growth in workers’ median weekly earnings during the year is more difficult to discern because of the sudden, dramatic shift in the earnings distribution. More information on labor market developments in 2020 is available at www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-and-response-on-the-employment-situation-news-release.htm.
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.
For more information on the median weekly earnings of women and men, see Bureau of Labor Statistics Report 1094, Highlights of women’s earnings in 2020, available at www.bls.gov/opub/reports/womens-earnings/2020/home.htm.
Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202)-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800)-877-8339.
earnings as a
District of Columbia
Note: In general, the sampling error for the state estimates is considerably larger than it is for the national estimates; thus, comparisons of state estimates should be made with caution. Data shown are based on workers' state of residence; workers' reported earnings, however, may or may not be from a job located in the same state.
Last Modified Date: Thursday, October 07, 2021