That’s the good news. The bad news is the narrowing comes about only because male earnings declined. Nice analysis in the NYT:
The recession was bad for everyone, but women experienced at least one silver lining: Their median earnings edged a bit closer to men's. The progress was bittersweet, however. It happened not because women earned more, but because men earned less, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data. Median earnings for men, adjusted for inflation, fell by $2,433 -- or 6 percent -- from 2007 to 2010, according to the analysis, by the American Human Development Project, a social research organization. Women's earnings, meanwhile, fell by just $253 in the same period, a drop of 0.9 percent. For men, it was another sad chapter in the painful tale of the recession, which officially ended in June 2009 and battered them more ferociously than it did women. For women, whose economic fortunes have been on a slow but steady rise relative to men's since the 1970s, it was a small, if unsatisfying, victory. "The recession was devastating for men," said Kristen Lewis, co-director of the project, which is part of the New York-based Social Science Research Council. Women, on the other hand, "have come through it with no significant change in their buying power," she said.
In early 2010, women's median weekly earnings were 79 cents for every dollar earned by men. By the second quarter of this year they were at 83 cents. That was all the more surprising because female unemployment, lower than men's through much of the recession, has now started to rise.
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