Wage Inequality Among Race and Gender Persist

job interview The 2010 fourth quarter numbers are in, and show that median weekly earnings of the nation's 100.1 million full-time workers were up to $752, marking a 0.5 percent gain from a year earlier. That's according to seasonally unadjusted numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That's the good news. The bad news is that there was a 1.3 percent gain in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the same period. That means that your salary increases are probably not keeping up with inflation.

Some of the other interesting highlights from the recently released fourth-quarter data include:

  • Women who usually worked full-time, had median weekly earnings of $679, which is 81.8 percent of the median for men.
  • The female-to-male earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity, with African-American women coming closest to what their male counterparts earned, at 96.2 percent. Asian-American women are farthest from what their male counterparts earn, at 75.9 percent. Hispanic women are at 89.9 percent, and Caucasian women earn 81.1 percent of what their male counterparts make.
  • Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median weekly earnings for African-American men, working at full-time jobs, was $629 per week or 73.4 percent of the median for Caucasian men.
  • The difference was less notable among women, as the median earnings for African-American women were 87.1 percent of what they were for Caucasian women ($695). Overall, median earnings of Hispanics who worked full time ($539) were lower than those of African-Americans ($614), Caucasians ($772), and Asian-Americans ($828), which consistently have the highest.
  • Usual weekly earnings of full-time workers varied by age. Among men, those age 55 to 64 had the highest median weekly earnings, $1,003.
  • Usual weekly earnings were highest for women age 35 to 44, and age 55 to 64, $737 and $742, respectively.
  • As expected, among all full-time workers, usual weekly earnings were lowest for those age 16 to 24 ($443).
  • Among the major occupational groups, people employed full-time in management, professional, and related occupations had the highest median weekly earnings, of $1,267 for men and $937 for women.
  • Men and women employed in service jobs earned the least, $585 and $421.
  • By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over, without a high school diploma, had median weekly earnings of $438, compared with $633 for high school graduates (without a college degree) and $1,139 for those holding at least a bachelor's degree.
  • Among college graduates with advanced degrees (professional or master's degree and above), the top 10 percent of male earners in this group made $3,383 or more per week, compared with $2,216 or more for their female counterparts.
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