Oklahoma women who were full-time wage and salary workers earned 21 percent less than men on a weekly basis last year, according to estimates released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Women across the state had median weekly earnings of $601, or 78.6 percent of the $765 median weekly earnings of men in 2011, the bureau reported.
The median is a halfway point — half of a group of numbers is more and half is less.
The report shows that Oklahoma had an annual average of 1.2 million workers last year, and that 534,000 were women and 703,000 were men. For all workers, median weekly earnings last year were $677, according to the bureau's data.
The ratio of Oklahoma women's earnings to men's earnings has fluctuated over the years, from about 75 percent from 2004 to 2008, to a series high of 87.2 percent in 2009. Since then the ratio of women's earnings has remained around 78 percent, the bureau reported.
The report uses estimates obtained from the Current Population Survey, a national monthly survey of about 60,000 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The earnings data are collected from one-fourth of the Current Population Survey monthly sample.
Nationwide, women who were full-time wage and salary workers earned 17.7 percent less than men, the bureau reported. The median wage for women was $684 per week compared to $832 for men.
Among states, women's median weekly earnings last year ranged from a low of $564 in Montana to $878 in Connecticut. Women on the East Coast enjoyed some of the highest earnings; in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland, women's weekly earnings were more than $800.
For men, median weekly earnings were lowest in Arkansas at $675 and highest in Connecticut at $1,106, according to the report.
The District of Columbia had the highest median weekly wage for both women and men, at $950 and $1,151, respectively.
Earnings differ across the nation due to variations in occupation, industry and age composition of each state's labor force, according to the bureau.