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Most Women Working Today Will Not See Equal Pay during their Working Lives
WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2013, 2012 earnings figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau yesterday do not hold much good news for women. Real earnings have failed to grow, and the gender wage gap is at the same level as it was in 2002. Women’s median annual earnings for 50 or more weeks of full-time work in 2012 were $37,791, compared with $49,398 for men, a gender earnings ratio of 76.5 percent. Real earnings did not increase compared to 2011, and the typical woman earned $11,607 less in 2012 than the typical man.
“Progress in closing the gender wage gap has stalled during the most recent decade. The wage gap is still at the same level as it was in 2002,” said Dr. Heidi Hartmann, President of IWPR. “If the five-decade trend is projected forward, it will take almost another five decades—until 2058—for women to reach pay equity. The majority of today’s working women will be well past the ends of their working lives.”
A new fact sheet released today by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, maps the gender earnings ratio since 1960 and analyzes changes in earnings during the last year by gender, race, and ethnicity. While there is a gender earnings gap between women and men of each major racial/ethnic group, the median earnings of all women are below those of white men. During 2012 the median annual earnings of Hispanic women were only $ 28,424, just 54 percent of the median annual earnings of white men, and at a level that would qualify a woman head of a family of four to receive food stamps.
“While there is no silver bullet for closing the gender wage gap,” said Ariane Hegewisch, a Study Director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and author of the fact sheet, “strengthened enforcement of our EEO laws, a higher minimum wage, and work/family benefits would go a significant way towards ensuring that working women are able to support their families without having to rely on welfare.”
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies.
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
America’s Poor Working Hard But Still Falling Behind
New Oxfam America poll reveals harsh realities in the world’s most unequal rich country
WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2013, As the nation prepares to mark Labor Day, Oxfam America released the findings of a new poll commissioned to explore the realities of America’s working poor. The survey reveals that America’s low-wage workers have a fierce work ethic and believe that hard work can pay off. However, they hold jobs that trap them in a cycle of working hard but unable to get ahead and with little hope for economic mobility.
The survey, which was conducted on Oxfam America’s behalf by Hart Research Associates, found that most low-wage workers barely scrape by month-to-month, are plagued by worries about meeting their families’ basic needs, and often turn to loans from family and friends, credit card debt, pawn shops and payday loans, and government programs just to get by. The poll also found that the workers facing the greatest challenges are also the most vulnerable, and that includes parents, women, and those making less than $10 per hour.
“For tens of millions of low-wage American workers, Labor Day is another long day on the job—doing hard work, often at irregular hours, for low pay and few benefits,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. “As our nation struggles to recover from the Great Recession, there is little recovery for a quarter of American workers who are stuck in low-wage jobs. Our country is now the most unequal rich country in the world, and has the largest percentage of low-wage workers of any advanced economy.”
Oxfam’s survey shows that in addition to inadequate incomes, low-wage workers also face challenges and obstacles that make it difficult to maintain basic job security and to find paths for advancement. Almost a third of those surveyed reported that they have no workplace benefits, such as paid sick leave, health insurance or paid vacation time. And one in six reported having lost a job in the last four years because they got sick or had to take care of a child or family member. A majority of the working poor surveyed believe that it is more common for middle-class people to fall out of the middle class than for low-income people to rise into the middle class.
“Poverty in the US looks very different from poverty in the developing countries where Oxfam often works,” said Offenheiser. “But what is the same – be it in the world’s richest country or its poorest– is the injustice of a society in which a few are mind-bogglingly rich, some are doing well, and too many are working hard but simply can’t make ends meet.”
A majority of low-wage workers reported that they believe that government has a responsibility to ensure that everyone has enough to eat, has access to health care and a roof over their head. But they also believe that government policy is slanted toward benefiting the rich rather than helping the poor get ahead.
“Despite their struggles, our survey finds that low-wage workers don’t want hand-outs; they want a level playing field. They want fair wages, decent working conditions, and dignity,” continued Offenheiser. “A majority of the working poor support a higher minimum wage, help in making child care more affordable, and expanding the earned income tax credit.”
Note: According to the Gini index, the most commonly used measure of inequality, the United States is the wealthiest nation with the largest difference between the poorest and richest.
Oxfam America is a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice. We save lives, develop long-term solutions to poverty, and campaign for social change. As one of 17 members of the international Oxfam confederation, we work with people in more than 90 countries to create lasting solutions. To join our efforts or learn more, go to www.oxfamamerica.org
Wage Gains to Stay in Holding Pattern, WTI Shows
ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 20, 2013, Private sector wage gains are expected to remain in a holding pattern in the coming months, according to the preliminary third-quarter Wage Trend Indicator™ (WTI) released today by Bloomberg BNA, a leading publisher of specialized news and information.
The forward-looking index edged down slightly in the third quarter to 98.70 (second quarter 1976 = 100) from the second-quarter reading of 98.72. Since the third quarter of 2011, the WTI has fluctuated within a narrow range from 98.47 to 98.75.
“The job market continues to improve very slowly, although employers are still showing a reluctance to add significant numbers of workers to their payrolls,” economist Kathryn Kobe, a consultant who maintains and helped develop Bloomberg BNA’s WTI database, said.
Kobe said she expects the annual rate of wage gains in the private sector in the coming months to remain at or near the 1.9 percent increase posted in the second quarter, according to the Department of Labor’s employment cost index (ECI). The WTI does not forecast the magnitude of wage growth, only the direction.
Over its history, the WTI has predicted a turning point in wage trends six to nine months before the trends are apparent in the ECI. A sustained increase in the WTI forecasts greater pressure to raise private sector wages, while a sustained decline is predictive of a deceleration in the rate of wage increases.
Reflecting mixed economic conditions, three of the WTI’s seven components made positive contributions to the preliminary third quarter reading, while three factors were negative and one was neutral.
Contributions of Components
Among the WTI’s seven components, the three positive contributors to the preliminary third-quarter reading were job losers as a share of the labor force, the unemployment rate, and average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers, all from DOL. The three negative factors were the share of employers planning to hire production and service workers in the coming months, measured by Bloomberg BNA’s quarterly employment outlook survey; industrial production, reported by the Federal Reserve Board; and forecasters’ expectations for the rate of inflation, compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The remaining component, the share of employers reporting difficulty in filling professional and technical jobs, also from Bloomberg BNA’s employment survey, had a neutral impact on the WTI.
Bloomberg BNA’s Wage Trend Indicator™ is designed to serve as a yardstick for employers, analysts, and policymakers to identify turning points in private sector wage patterns. It also provides timely information for business and human resource analysts and executives as they plan for year-to-year changes in compensation costs.
The WTI is released in 12 monthly reports per year showing the preliminary, revised, and final readings for each quarter, based on newly emerging economic data.
More information on the Wage Trend Indicator is available on Bloomberg BNA’s WTI home page at http://www.bna.com/wage-trend-indicator-p12884902670/.
The next report of the Wage Trend Indicator™ will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013 (revised third quarter)
Bloomberg BNA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg, is a leading source of legal, regulatory, and business information for professionals. Its network of more than 2,500 reporters, correspondents, and leading practitioners delivers expert analysis, news, practice tools, and guidance — the information that matters most to professionals. Bloomberg BNA’s authoritative coverage spans the full range of legal practice areas, including tax & accounting, labor & employment, intellectual property, banking & securities, employee benefits, health care, privacy & data security, human resources, and environment, health & safety.
Dr. Joel Popkin, who is acknowledged as one of the country’s foremost authorities on the measurement and analysis of wages and prices, developed the WTI for Bloomberg BNA. Formerly an official with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dr. Popkin has been an analyst observing and predicting the U.S. economic outlook for 40 years. Kathryn Kobe, who worked with Popkin in designing the indicator for Bloomberg BNA, is director of price, wage, and productivity analysis at Economic Consulting Services LLC.
To obtain Wage Trend Indicator™ reports by e-mail on a regular basis, contact Jerry Walsh, BNA Research & Custom Solutions, 800-372-1033.