“Women in Maine continue to earn 21 percent less than men do for doing the same work,” Michaud says in the video. “Yet governor LePage and other politicians around the country continue to turn a blind eye toward the problem.”
Michaud’s claim that men and women earn different wages “for doing the same work” is not supported by data from the U.S. Department of Labor or the Maine Department of Labor.
The wage gap statistic he is touting does not apply to men and women who are working full time at the same jobs — it’s not an apples to apples comparison.
The editor’s of Michaud’s video flash “Source: US Census American Community survey 2009-2012” across the video as he makes the claim, as if to assert that it has some basis in labor data. To a certain extent, it does. When you compare median wages earned by all men working full time to median wages earned by all full-time female employees, the average male makes more money. But the falsehood in Michaud’s remark enters the equation when he claims that this wage gap applies to men and women who are working side-by-side, at the same job, doing the same work.
According to Maine Department of Labor data, 42.1 percent of Maine women who work full time work in education or health care; only 12.8 percent of men work in those sectors. Similarly, 26.3 percent of Maine men working full time are in construction or manufacturing; only 6.3 percent of full-time female workers are in those sectors. Different professions earn different wages.
But in addition to this qualitative difference between working men and women, there is also a quantitative difference. According to Labor Department data, 91 percent of Maine men working full time (i.e. at least 35 hours per week) worked more than 40 hours on average. Conversely, 82 percent of full-time Maine women worked, on average, more than 40 hours a week.
The quantitative and qualitative differences between the work tendencies of Maine men and women explain the wage gap. But this is a fact Michaud deliberately obscures when he claims, falsely, that women are paid less than men for doing the same work.
Making claims not supported by empirical data is becoming something of a trend for the candidate.
Last year, his campaign removed bogus employment statistics from his campaign’s kickoff video after The Maine Wire fact checked the video and found his claims unwarranted.
And, last month, Michaud claimed Maine is behind the other 49 states in job creation under LePage. When controlled for population growth, the same report Michaud was referring to showed Maine ranks 34th in job creation since 2011, ahead of Connecticut, New Jersey and even New Hampshire .
Editor, Maine Wire