Pay depends on many factors like where you live. In California new grad RNs, if your luck to land a gig, working in the Bay Area can break the 6 figure mark with overtime. Keep in mind the Bay Area is a huge collection of cities on top of cities, its not just one place. San Jose, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont, Redwood City, Menlo Park etc etc are all loped in together in one term. Southern California has L.A, San Diego, Fullerton, Anaheim, Riverside, etc etc but SoCal gets paid less than NorCal. To my understanding you have to factor in that there are more unionized hospitals in NorCal than SoCal and that is why there is better pay in the north.
As for the factory gigs that pay more than nursing, maybe its because they are/were unionized at the time. Doesn't really bug me at all that they get paid more. When it comes down to it your pay is based largely on how much people think your worth paying. I think im worth a million bucks, but I would be hard pressed to get someone to pay me that lol. There are plenty of New Grads that spent $40,000 ion student loans to get their BSN only to find out they cant find Jobs in California. They then move to a state that only pay them $25.00 and paying off the loan becomes more difficult because they were counting on the $38.00 job in california.
There are also people who didnt get any education past high school who entered the military, got out after 4 years and worked over seas for KBR, General Dynamics, Northrop Grummen, and they break the 6 figure mark. The DoD pays $75,000 for a Russian translator no post high school education needed. All you need is not be a criminal and be a citizen, plenty of second generation Russian kids can do this gig. Education isn't everything in life, some jobs dont require anything more than H.S diploma. Just a fact of life is all.