Women Earn Less Than Men in Every Industry in Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook Counties

by Damon Runberg and Felicia Bechtoldt

May 26, 2016

International Women's Day was back in early March. The day highlights the pay inequality that still persists between men and women in the workplace. Here in Oregon women account for 49 percent of workers, yet the average earnings of women are around 68 percent of male earnings. Do women represent a smaller share of our local jobs? Do we see the same income inequality narrative for women on the High Desert? 
Women represent a smaller share of the jobs in our rural counties, only around 44 percent of jobs in Crook County and 46 percent in Jefferson County. However, women are the majority in the workforce in Deschutes County where they account for 51 percent of countywide jobs.

The share of jobs held by women varies considerably by industry. There are seven industries in Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson counties where women outnumber men. The biggest difference is in health care and social assistance where 77 percent of jobs are held by women. Other noticeable majorities of women in the workplace are in finance and insurance (69% women) and educational services (66%). The industries where women are most noticeably missing are construction (20% women); transportation and warehousing (25%); agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting (26%); wholesale trade (27%); utilities (27%); and manufacturing (27%).

Despite accounting for around half of the jobs across the High Desert, the average monthly earnings of women were lower than that of men in every industry in Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson counties. The average monthly paycheck for women is 70 percent of the men's average, only slightly better than the statewide figure of 68 percent. Average monthly earnings figures do not take into account other factors affecting pay, such as total hours worked and hourly wages. Adjusting for the number of hours worked narrows the earnings gap between women and men, but still does not account for other factors that can significantly affect pay.

Across industries, the ratio of women's to men's earnings ranged from a relatively close 84 percent in real estate and rental and leasing to a disparate 45 percent in finance and insurance in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties. In finance and insurance, where women hold 69 percent of the jobs, the earnings for women average nearly $3,957 a month less than what men are making ($8,831). Women working in health care and social assistance sector, where 77 percent of jobs are held by women, have an average monthly paycheck of $3,503. This is 50 percent less than men's average earnings ($7,019).

Information about employment and earnings by industry is from the U.S. Census Bureau's Local Employment Dynamics (LED) partnership with the states. LED provides the most comprehensive data available for employment and earnings of women and men at the state and county level. Employment figures presented here are the average of quarterly employment for 2014. Earnings are the average of quarterly earnings in 2014 of workers who worked at least one full quarter during the year.

To explore and use the data available from LED, visit lehd.ces.census.gov.