The pay gap between women and men narrowed further in 2005, according to the report Highlights of Women's Earnings in 2005 issued by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report shows that median weekly earnings for women reached 81% of men's earnings, up from the 80.3% ratio in 2004 and the highest in the 26 years that the BLS has tracked such figures.
Some additional interesting findings highlighted in the report:
- Among full-time workers who were paid by the hour, the gender gap was even narrower in 2005, with women earning 85% of median earnings for men.
- The ratio of female-to-male earnings varied by state, from a low of 63% in Wyoming to a high of 90% in California.
- The gender earnings gap was much larger for middle-aged and older workers than among younger workers.
- Women have fared better than men in terms of earnings growth over the past quarter century. For example, the inflation-adjusted earnings of women with college degrees rose 34% from 1979 to 2005, while earnings of male college graduates rose 18% over the same period.
- Among racial and ethnic groups, the female-to-male earnings gap was larger for Asian and white women (about an 80% ratio to men) than for black and Hispanic women (about an 88% ratio to men).