Email, Cheryl Abbot, regional economist, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 19, 2014
It’s not a simple explanation because there are a number of factors at work during the period you’re asking about, along with different reasons for movements in male and female absolute earnings in Texas, the fact that the women’s earnings ratio combines all of these facets, and finally that you want to know why the State dropped below the national average. First, let me point out that although the Texas ratio of women’s to-men’s earnings fell in 2011 and 2012, the actual level of women’s earnings increased in both years. As a matter of fact, Texas women’s earnings rose at twice the national rate in 2012. But the Texas ratio declined because men’s earnings rose at a much faster pace than women’s earnings in the state. This was also the case for the U.S. women’s earnings ratio, but the U.S. ratio fell by a much smaller amount because men’s earnings nationally rose at a much slower pace than in the state.
In simple dollar terms, Texas women’s earnings have been rising steadily throughout the series history – even during the recession. In contrast, Texas men’s earnings fell or were little changed in 2010 and 2011 before making a strong comeback in 2012. The 2012 increase in Texas men’s earnings may reflect a number of different factors, including job growth in higher-paying male-dominated industries, return of lost jobs in higher-paying goods-producing industries, and possibly longer workweeks in these same industries. Because Texas jobs have been expanding at a faster pace than the national economy, and because the state has higher concentrations in male-dominated energy-related industries, the growth in men’s earnings (and the inverse decline in the women’s earnings ratio) is even more pronounced.
Hope that helps,
Economic Analysis & Information
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
From: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 5:23 PM
To: Abbot, Cheryl - BLS
Subject: Fresh inquiry
Good afternoon. I write seeking an explanation for why the Texas line on the chart here -- http://www.bls.gov/ro6/fax/women_earnings_tx.pdf -- dipped below the U.S. line in recent years. Thoughts?
I ask because we are checking a claim that women in Texas earn 79 cents for every dollar earned by men.
W. Gardner Selby