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PM News Brief: Persistent gender wage gap, 2020 crime increase & homeless shelter pause

An illustration of a woman and men on either ends of a scale with money.
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Utah’s gender wage gap failed to improve over the past four years. That’s according to information released Tuesday from the Utah Women and Leadership Project. This story and more in Tuesday evening's new brief.

Tuesday evening, Oct. 5, 2021

State

Utah’s Gender Wage Gap Remains Unchanged

Utah’s gender wage gap failed to improve over the past four years. That’s according to information released Tuesday from the Utah Women and Leadership Project. Their report in 2017 found women made 70 cents for every dollar a man made and In 2021 that's still the case. The gap in Utah is also larger than the nationwide average where women make 82 cents for every dollar a man makes. The group’s findings reiterated the disproportionate gender effects COVID-19 had. It found industries that were dominated by women were at a higher risk of issuing layoffs and furloughs during the pandemic. Researchers say one step toward closing the gap is strengthening laws that support pay equity. — Ross Terrell

Crime Increased In 2020 Compared To 2019 

Crime in Utah in 2020, like arson, burglary and aggravated assault, was up nearly 6% compared to the year before. That’s according to new data released Tuesday by the state’s Department of Public Safety. For violent crimes, homicides saw the largest increase at 44%. But rape in Utah actually decreased by nearly 10%. Officials said these numbers represent a true spike and it’s not just due to a growing population. Utah statistics follow the national trend of an increase in crime — though homicides here are less than half the national rate. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City Presses Pause On New Permanent Homeless Shelters 

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall has put a pause on new, permanent homeless shelters in the city. It’s set to last for the next six months. Mendenhall said Salt Lake has to bear a higher responsibility than other cities in Utah when it comes to sheltering the state’s homeless population. She hopes the moratorium will allow city officials to review its processes when it comes to building shelters. During the pause, officials can still consider temporary locations if a provider proposes one in a zone that already allows homeless shelters. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

Search And Rescue Operations Up At Some Of Utah’s National Parks 

Search and rescue operations are up this year compared to previous years in some of Utah’s national parks, which are also seeing increased visitation. Zion National Park officials say 2021 has “been one for the record books,” when it comes to search and rescue. There’ve been more incidents so far this year than the previous two combined. Arches and Canyonlands National Parks have also seen a rise in search and rescue missions. Kait Thomas, a spokesperson for the parks, said they’ve already exceeded the total from last year. Both Thomas and Fagergren stressed the importance of planning beforehand, and being prepared for variable weather conditions. Read the full story. Lexi Peery, St. George

Region/Nation

Nevada Home Care Workers Protest Low Pay 

The West is facing a growing shortage of home care workers right now. It's due to low pay and the pandemic. Tuesday some of these workers in Nevada urged the state government to help improve wages and other benefits. Home care workers help seniors or the disabled take care of themselves, and on average they earn about $11 an hour in Nevada. A recent study from the nonprofit Guinn Center suggested the nation needs to add roughly 300,000 home care workers in the coming years to meet demand. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau 

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