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Idaho wages grew in 2013, but still just 75.6% of national average

Average wages grew in 36 of Idaho’s 44 counties in 2013, the Idaho Department of Labor reports, although the average wage in the state remained at just 75.6 percent of the national average. That was an improvement from 2012, when Idaho’s average wage was 74.4 percent of the national average.

Ada County’s average wage of $43,937 was above the state average of $37,800, and was 87.9 percent of the national average. Canyon County, at $33,230, was below the state average and 66.4 percent of the national average. Kootenai County, at $34,834, was 69.7 percent of the national average. You can see the Department of Labor’s full report, based on new estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, online here, including breakdowns for all 44 counties.

Report finds Idaho has bigger wage gaps for women, minorities than nation

A new report on pay disparities finds that women and minorities in Idaho who work full-time are far less likely to earn a living wage than the population as a whole, and though such disparities also show up nationwide, they’re more pronounced in Idaho. The report “Equity in the Balance,” which examined pay disparities in 10 states including Idaho, found that for single adults in Idaho working full-time, just 51 percent make a living wage, which for Idaho was calculated at $14.57 an hour, enough to cover basics including food, housing, transportation and child care. For women, that percentage fell to 43 percent; for Latinos, 31 percent; for people of color, 39 percent; and for Native Americans, 37 percent. Even bigger disparities were found for households with children.

Nationally, the study estimated that 61 percent of all workers earn a living wage, with the number falling to 57 percent for women, 42 percent for Latinos, 52 percent for people of color and 50 percent for Native Americans.

“It’s more pronounced in Idaho,” said Ben Henry, a senior policy associate with Seattle-based Alliance for a Just Society, the lead author of the report, which also was produced in collaboration with the Idaho Community Action Network. “Women and people of color just simply are not making ends meet,” he said. “It’s concerning and sobering to say the least.”

The full report is online here. The sponsors say raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid and other steps could ease the burden for low-wage workers in Idaho. Idaho currently ties its minimum wage to the federal minimum wage, so it’s $7.25 an hour, a rate that hasn’t changed in five years. Last year, legislation was introduced to phase in an increase in Idaho’s minimum wage to $9.75 an hour, but the bill, sponsored by three Democratic state senators, never got a hearing.

PNS: Wage gap costs Idaho women $10,000 a year

Today is “Equal Pay Day,” reports Deb Courson Smith of Public News Service (PNS), the point at which the average pay for a woman in the U.S. catches up to the average of what a man made last year. Courson Smith reports that a new analysis of U.S. Census data by the National Partnership for Women & Families shows the average full-time female worker in Idaho makes more than $10,000 a year less than the average male worker.

Sarah Crawford, director of workplace fairness for the national partnership, told Courson Smith that not much has changed since last year's Equal Pay Day. “The interesting point,” she said, “is that there is no state where women are earning more than men. The wage gap persists in every corner of our country.” You can read her full report here. The analysis shows Idaho women earn 75 cents per hour for every dollar earned by their male counterparts; the national rate is 77 cents.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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