Women Pocket Raises at Faster Clip Than Men in Tight Job Market
It's shaping up to be a good end to 2016 for women in the workforce.
Hourly wages for the group rose at a faster clip than for men last month for the the third straight time, the longest such stretch in nearly six years. The gap in October was bigger than any time during that period, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
The sudden acceleration in women's earnings reverses a trend that first cropped up about five years ago, when men started seeing bigger raises as the great recession ended. It's a different measure than the gap in overall wages between the genders, which shows that women earn about 20 percent less than their male peers. However, when the Atlanta Fed's measure does see one gender outpacing the other for wage growth, it's usually men that come out on top.
"Between 1997 and 2010, wage growth of men and women was about equal," Ellyn Terry, an economic policy analysis specialist in the Atlanta Fed's research department, wrote in a recent blog post. ''Since 2010 however, a gap has emerged. Much of the difference...has to do with family/job choices and other individual characteristics,'' she said.
Females saw wages rise at a year-over-year rate of 4.1 percent in November, 0.5 percentage point faster than among men, a small gap that could easily reverse. There's additional good news in that a pickup in earnings is something that's been felt in a number of sectors and demographics in recent months. In fact, the broader measure of overall wage growth from the Fed recently hit a post-crisis high.