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Gender pay gap: Top 5 best and worst states

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Tera Burbank (r.) and her husband, John Clark, of Las Vegas were unemployed for two years. High unemployment can drive down the gender pay gap.

Julie Jacobson/AP/File

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4. Nevada

Nevada’s earnings ratio – 85 percent – breaks down to $35,484 for women versus $41,803 for men.

Nevada’s two largest industries – tourism and mining – are gender-segregated industries, with mining dominated by men and tourism industries by women, according to the AAUW. But the strength of the leisure and hospitality industry in Nevada gives it a comparatively narrow pay gap.

A narrow wage gap isn’t necessarily an indication of high wages, though. States with low overall earnings and high unemployment (Nevada has the highest unemployment rate) often have narrow gender wage gaps, Ms. Hegewisch told Forbes.

“So if you don’t have good opportunities for either men or women, we often find a lower wage gap. A job is a job,” she said.

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