Colorado analysis: Women earn less than men, gap wider than U.S.

Women continue to earn less than men in Colorado, a gap that’s wider in the state than the nation, according to an analysis of wages.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the median weekly earnings of women who were full-time wage and salary workers was $719 in 2010.

That figure is 77.7 percent of the $925 median weekly earnings reported for men and the lowest ratio of earnings between genders since 2001.

Nationwide, women earned median weekly earnings of $669 in 2010, or 81.2 percent of the $824 earned by men.

In Colorado, women’s weekly median earnings had remained above 80 percent of men’s earnings in all but two years since 2002. Between 2001 and 1997, the ratio remained in a narrow range between 74.6 percent and 77.4 percent.

Among the 50 states, median weekly earnings of women in full-time wage and salary positions in 2010 ranged from $530 in Arkansas to $835 in Connecticut.

States with the highest wages for women were located along the northeastern coastline. In addition to Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey also had wages above $800 and Maryland was close at $798.

Median weekly earnings for men were lowest in Arkansas at $640 and highest in Connecticut at $1,101, the same pattern that emerged for women.

Five of the six states with men’s wages above $950 — Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Virginia — were located along or close to the East Coast. The sole exception was Washington on the West Coast, where median weekly earnings were  $978.

The ratio of female-to-male earnings in 2010 varied, ranging from 68.8 percent in West Virginia to 91.3 percent in Delaware

Of the eight states with the highest ratios of 85 percent or more, seven were either in the Northeast or along the border with Mexico, the only exception being North Carolina.

The differences among the states reflect, in part, variation in the occupations and industries found in each state and in the age composition of each state’s labor force. In addition, comparisons by sex are on a broad level and do not control for such factors as educational attainment, which can be significant in explaining earnings differences.