The pay gap between men and women is widening in Texas, to the point where it is leading economists to worry that it could compromise the state's ability to attract new jobs, especially in high tech and other cutting edge industries, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average woman in Texas in 2012 made 79% of the pay of the average man, that gap has grown by five percent just in the past year.


  The average woman in Texas made $633 a week in 2012.  The average man made $795.


  Economist Ray Perryman says it should be a top priority of policy makers to narrow this pay gap.


  "With Texas being a little bit worse than other places, this should be more of a priority for Texas," Perryman told 1200 WOAI's Michael Board.


  The reason for the widening pay gap is largely due to the booming Eagle Ford oil fields, which pay generous wages to its largely male work force.  Meanwhile, many traditionally female jobs, like retail clerk, report stagnating rates of pay.


  Perryman says a widening pay gap is not a good thing as Texas continues to try to snatch businesses from other states.


  "People are looking for economic opportunity, especially younger people who are well educated," Perryman said.  "If they see something like this, it may discourage them from choosing Texas as a place to locate or to start a business."


  He points out that woman are increasingly making decisions in the booming high tech sector, and they will be particularly turned off by this disparity.


  "Particularly if you have a female head of household who has some skills," Perryman said.  "I can see where they would be discouraged by this."