MALE-FEMALE PAY GAP PERSISTS
New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Michigan Rep. John Dingell released the results of the new General Accounting Office (GAO) study showing that the gap between men’s and women’s earnings has stubbornly persisted over the past two decades even when accounting for employment and demographic factors. The results examine 18 years of data on over 9,300 Americans and the full report can be viewed at www.house.gov/maloney/issues/womenscaucus/2003EarningsReport.pdf.
Some of the report’s key findings include:
- Working women today earn an average of 80 cents for every dollar that men earn, even when accounting for factors such as occupation, industry, race, marital status and job tenure.
- The pay gap has persisted for the past two decades. It has remained consistent from 1983-2000, despite a sense of continued progress toward gender equality in the workplace.
- Women in the workforce are also less likely to work a full-time schedule and are more likely to leave the labor force for longer periods of time than men, further suppressing women’s wages. These differing work patterns lead to an even larger earnings gap between men and women – suggesting that working women are penalized for their dual roles as wage earners and those who disproportionately care for home and family.
- Men with children appear to get an earnings boost, whereas women lose earnings. Men with children earn about 2 percent more on average than men without children, according to the GAO findings, whereas women with children earn about 2.5 percent less than women without children.
LIVING WAGE AT LITTLE COST
The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of law released a report entitled “Living Wage Laws and Communities: Smarter Economic Development, Lower Than Expected Costs,” that analyzed recently enacted living wage legislation and its impact.
Under “living wage” laws, employers receiving city contracts or city business subsidies must pay full-time workers a wage sufficient to support themselves and their families at a subsistence level. The report examined jobs covered by city contracts and jobs covered by city business subsidies. For city contracts, local officials reported that cost increases have been small and less than initially expected. For most cities, contract costs increased by less than 0.1 percent of the overall budget in the years after a living wage law was adopted. In many cases, contracting employers were reported to have absorbed much or all of the additional labor costs without demanding increased funds from the cities. For city business subsidies, local officials reported that only on rare occasions did living wage requirements limit their ability to attract desirable employers to their communities. Some local officials reported using their business subsidy programs to attract jobs in low-wage sectors since these jobs are less beneficial to local residents and the economy than higher paying jobs.