The large pay gap that once separated men and women is shrinking. But the reasons aren’t all good.
The earnings gap between working men and women in the U.S. is the smallest it has ever been, according to USA Today’s analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In the second quarter of 2010, women earned 82.8% of the median wage of men. That’s up from 76.1% a decade ago.
There are two main reasons the gap has narrowed:
- Men have been losing jobs at a faster rate than women because they are clustered in struggling industries — like manufacturing and construction.
- Women have been able to increase their presence in traditionally male-dominated, higher-paying jobs — like accountants, lawyers and physicians.
Women also make up more (49.7%) of the workforce today, and are gaining on men in almost every category except for industrial trades (which are declining in numbers) and technology jobs — like programmers and engineers.