State Capitol News
8:58 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Study Shows AZ Women More Likely To Make Comparable Wages To Men

A new report shows that women in Arizona are much more likely to be paid on par with men than elsewhere. But, Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports there's more to the study than that.

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says that in 2011, the most recent numbers available, women in Arizona on average earned 88.5% as much as men. That not only tops the national figure of slightly more than 82 percent but is the second highest ration in the country behind only California.

But Dennis Hoffman, an economist at Arizona State University, said it's not that employers here believe more in pay equity. Instead, it's related to the fact that jobs here overall don't pay as much as elsewhere because there are not significant numbers of high-margin businesses. He says, "businesses that look for highly talented men and women that pay highly competitive wages and can afford to pay highly competitive wages because they're very high margin businesses."

The result is that the employment mix here is different than other states, with more of the jobs at the lower end of the pay scale in fields where women are dominant. Bureau of Labor Statistics economist Todd Johnson said that, ultimately, it comes down to simple math: As long as wages men are accepting in Arizona remains below the national average, then salaries for women, in comparison, will be relatively higher.