NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Women's Paychecks Catching Up

June 5, 1998

Women's earnings increased last year at a far faster pace than those of men, thanks largely to the accelerating demand for labor. Experts say more companies are moving to performance-based pay systems -- which tend to speed up the equalization process.

  • Women's average weekly earnings grew by 6.6 percent last year, according to the Labor Department.
  • By contrast, men's wages only increased by 2.4 percent.
  • For every dollar men earn, women on average earned 76 cents last year -- up from 73 cents in 1996.
  • Women's wages came closest to parity with men's in 1993, when they earned 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Some economists attribute part of last year's gain to an increase of 90 cents per hour in the minimum wage -- to $5.15. Women, who make up 46 percent of the U.S. labor force, perform 60 percent of minimum-wage jobs.

Source: Beth Belton, "Tight Job Market Helps Women Close Pay Gap," USA Today, June 5, 1998.


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