During 2010 the weekly gender wage gap narrowed slightly. Median weekly earnings of female full-time workers were $669, compared with male median weekly earnings of $824. Based on these data, the ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly earnings was 81.2, slightly higher than in 2009 (80.3) and above the historical high of 81.0 in 2005. During recessions the gender wage gap typically narrows because bonus and overtime payments, which on average account for a larger share of male than female earnings, are cut back. In real terms, women’s median weekly earnings did not increase during 2010; men’s median weekly earnings decreased by just under one percent.
Another measure of the earnings gap, the ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings for full-time year- round workers, was 77.0 in 2009 (data for 2010 are not yet available), essentially unchanged since 2008. (This means the annual gender wage gap for full-time year-round workers is 23 percent.)
The annual earnings ratio for full-time year-round workers, which includes self-employed workers, tends to be slightly lower than the ratio for weekly earnings (which excludes the self-employed and includes full-time workers who work only part of the year). The two series exhibit the same general trend over the long term (even though they often move in different directions in the short-term).