Women gained in income and jobs in 2018, U.S. Census data shows

(Reuters) - Women are landing more full-time jobs, bringing in bigger paychecks and rising out of poverty, according to U.S. Census data released on Tuesday.

Strong economic gains for female workers were a bright spot in a report that also showed the number of Americans without health insurance rose for the first time in a decade. The Census figures also showed household income barely budged in 2018 from the previous year.

Income figures show working women earning more money than they did during the boom years before the 2008 financial crisis, surpassing the gains for men.

Median earnings for women working full-time were 5.8% higher in 2018 than in 2007, before the start of the recession. Earnings for men working full-time were not statistically different from 2007.

Women, however, were still earning substantially less than their male peers. Median earnings for women working full-time amounted to 82% of the median earnings for men, reflecting a gender pay gap that was essentially unchanged in 2018 from 2017.

The Census findings also echoed a trend highlighted in the August monthly jobs report, which found that more women are either working or looking for jobs, shrinking the gender gap in the labor participation rate to the lowest level on record.

The share of working women with full-time jobs rose to 63.9% last year, a full percentage point higher than in 2017, according to the Census data. That was greater than the 0.7 percentage point increase in the portion of working men with full-time jobs, which rose to 76.3 percent in 2018.

The gains are helping more low-income women become more financially secure. The poverty rate for women fell to 12.9% in 2018 from 13.6% in 2017, while the poverty rate for men was 10.6% in 2018, not statistically changed from 2017.

Reporting by Jonnelle Marte; Editing by Dan Grebler