Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Women’s Earnings in the Ocean State

May 20, 2005

Contact:Joyce D'Orsi (401) 462-8762
Labor MArket Information

RHODE ISLAND - According to the Current Population Survey (CPS), Rhode Island women earned 80 percent of their male counterparts in 2003. This was the second highest earnings ratio in New England and the fourteenth highest earnings ratio in the United States. Regionally, Vermont (82.4%) reported the smallest earnings differential between women and men, followed by Rhode Island (80.0%), Massachusetts (78.0%), Maine (76.9%), Connecticut (74.1%), and New Hampshire (72.1%). Throughout the U.S., female-to-male earnings ratios ranged from a high of 87.7 percent in Georgia to just 65.3 percent in Wyoming. Nationwide, women earned 79.5 percent of what men did in 2003, slightly below the Rhode Island ratio.

During the past several years, the earnings gap between Ocean State men and women has shrunk. In 1998, the female-to-male earnings ratio stood at 71.2 percent. One year later, women in Rhode Island earned 76.5 percent of what men did. It remained around that level until 2002, when the ratio increased to 78.7 percent. During this period, Rhode Island women experienced a much faster growth in median weekly earnings (full-time wage and salary workers) than men did. In 1998, females earned $455 weekly compared to $638 earned by males. By 2003, women's median weekly earnings had increased 27.3 percent (+$124), to $579. In contrast, Ocean State males experienced just a 13.3 percent (+$85) increase in median weekly earnings between 1998 and 2003.

In 2003, Rhode Island women reported the third highest median weekly earnings total ($579) in New England and the twelfth highest total in the U.S. (tied with Michigan). Female wage and salary workers in Connecticut ($666; tied with Maryland) and Massachusetts ($665) led the region and the nation, while women in neighboring New Hampshire ($572), Vermont ($555), and Maine ($505) trailed.

For more information, visit the LMI web site at: www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi/publications/womenearn.htm

Data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics' Highlights of Women's Earnings series, 1998-2003. Earnings refers to the median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers, as measured by the CPS.

- 30 -

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training offers a wide array of employment and training services to both the general public and to individuals with unusual barriers to employment. DLT is ready to assist any job seeker, whether the goal is a first job, a better job, or a career change. Rhode Island's work force is protected through the enforcement of labor laws, prevailing wage rates, and work place health and safety standards. Temporary income support is available to unemployed, sick, or injured workers and a comprehensive rehabilitation program is available to those injured on the job.
DLT is dedicated to the growth and competitiveness of Rhode Island industry, administering a variety of training grants, tax credits, and apprenticeship programs to help employers. Economic indicators and labor market information are available for long-range planning. The Agency engages in active outreach, helping large and small employers retain their best workers or retrain their existing work force. At no cost to the employer, DLT will also screen job applicants, post job vacancies, and help businesses institute cost-sharing programs that can avert layoffs.For more information on the innovative programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders at the Department of Labor and Training, please call (401) 462-8000 or visit our web site at www.dlt.ri.gov

Equal Opportunity Employer/Program
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
TDD (401) 462-8006