Survey: Washington is the Best US State for Making a Living and Hawaii Is the Worst

A new MoneyRates.com analysis of work-related conditions across the nation finds that Washington is the best U.S. state for workers and that Hawaii is the worst.

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It’s a tough economy, but people in some areas have it much tougher than others. It’s important that people in states that are really struggling know there are better job opportunities elsewhere.

Foster City, CA (PRWEB) June 09, 2014

Based on strong scores for its wages, taxes and work environment, Washington is the No. 1 state in the U.S. for making a living, according to the 2014 MoneyRates.com Best and Worst States to Make a Living study. Hawaii ranks as the worst state for making a living, based largely on its high cost of living and poor work-environment marks.

Despite slightly below-average unemployment and cost of living scores, Washington earned the No. 1 spot through top-10 national rankings for average wages, state taxes and work environment. Texas placed second in the study with strong marks across the tax, cost of living and unemployment metrics. Minnesota garnered the No. 3 spot in part because of its low unemployment rate and high score for work environment.

Hawaii’s combination of an extremely high cost of living and only average wages was a primary factor in its ranking as the worst state for making a living. New York’s high cost of living and high state income tax helped land it as the No. 2 worst state in the survey. Mississippi’s low wages, low work-environment score and high unemployment rate contributed to its ranking as the No. 3 worst state.

At 157 percent of the national average, Hawaii’s cost of living is a prime example of how widely work-related conditions can vary today among U.S. states, says Richard Barrington, CFA, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com and author of the study.

“It’s a tough economy, but people in some areas have it much tougher than others,” says Barrington. “It’s important that people in states that are really struggling know there are better job opportunities elsewhere.”

Barrington adds that given the slow-moving nature of most metrics used in the study, workers who have struggled with poor working conditions lately may want to look elsewhere rather than waiting for conditions in their state to improve.

“None of these things – cost of living, unemployment, average wages – tends to turn around in a hurry,” says Barrington. “Workers in areas that have chronic problems need to realize that their best chance for change might be to consider relocating.”

Here are the 10 best U.S. states for making a living in 2014, according to MoneyRates.com:

1. Washington
2. Texas
3. Minnesota
4. Colorado
5. Utah
6. North Dakota
7. Virginia
8. Nevada
9. Oklahoma
10. Nebraska

Here are the 10 worst U.S. states for making a living in 2014, according to MoneyRates.com:

1. Hawaii
2. New York
3. Mississippi
4. Rhode Island
5. Connecticut
6. Alaska
7. Alabama
8. Arkansas
9. New Jersey
10. South Carolina

For more details on this study, please see the MoneyRates.com articles on the Best States to Make a Living, Worst States to Make a Living and the full 50-state list for 2014.

Methodology

The rankings for the Best and Worst States to Make a Living are based on each state's Compensation and Quality Factor, a proprietary metric by MoneyRates.com that is based on these factors:

  •     Average salary, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  •     Cost of living, based on data from C2ER.
  •     Employment rate, based on BLS data.
  •     Workplace conditions, based on the "Work Environment" component of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

About MoneyRates.com

MoneyRates.com has been a leading source of information on bank rates, personal finance, savings accounts and investing since 1999. The site seeks to provide the highest rates on CDs, money market accounts and high-yield savings accounts. MoneyRates.com is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to find, research and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in visitor-friendly marketing practices. For more information, please visit QuinStreet.com.