Feds say Oklahoma women earned 17 percent less than men in 2012

Federal statistics show Oklahoma women earned only 83 percent of what their male counterparts made during 2012.
BY JAY F. MARKS jmarks@opubco.com Published: December 4, 2013

Oklahoma women earned 83 percent as much as their male counterparts in 2012, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is good enough for Oklahoma to rank 10th in the country, while exceeding the national average for only the third time since the agency began tracking wage and salary data by gender in 1987, economist James Howard said.

The state's women posted their second-highest wage ratio last year, trailing only 2009's 87.2 percent.

Lynn Gray, director of economic research and analysis at the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, said he was a bit surprised to see Oklahoma's ratio was so high last year.

Oklahoma is an energy state, with many high-paying jobs available to workers in the oil and natural gas-producing fields.

“That tends to skew the ratio,” he said.

Gray noted the wage gap between men and women is greater in other energy states like North Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.

“Women typically don't work in those occupations,” he said.

The ratio between men's and women's salaries in Oklahoma has fluctuated greatly over the past 15 years, while the national figure generally has trended upward.

Nationwide, women earned 80.9 percent as much as men in 2012, based on figures from the Census Bureau's monthly population surveys of about 60,000 households. Earnings data came from about a quarter of those surveyed, Howard said.

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