Washington State Tops List of Best US States to Make a Living; Hawaii Ranks Worst

Using data on several employment-related factors, a new MoneyRates.com study finds that Washington is the best state in the nation for making a living. Hawaii places last, marking its third consecutive year at the bottom of the survey.

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The opportunity to make a living is just much better in some places than in others. People deserve to know if they have a better shot at making a living somewhere else.

Foster City, Calif. (PRWEB) April 01, 2013

Washington earns the top spot in MoneyRates.com’s Best States to Make a Living 2013, edging out last year’s top finisher Virginia, which slips to No. 2 in the rankings. Hawaii remains the worst state for making a living for the third year in a row, due to its high cost of living.

The survey, now in its third year, ranks states based on income, tax, cost of living, unemployment, and workplace environment data. The rankings are intended to provide the unemployed and underemployed with insight into which states offer the best job-related conditions. MoneyRates.com senior financial analyst, Richard Barrington, CFA, says that workers who have struggled to find satisfying work in their area may want to consider other states with better prospects.

“It’s not a level playing field,” says Barrington. “The opportunity to make a living is just much better in some places than in others.”

Washington earns the top spot by having one of the highest average incomes in the nation, no state income tax and a cost of living that is only slightly above the national average. Its workplace- environment ranking is also above average.

Virginia slips from its position as No. 1 in the 2012 rankings to place second in 2013, though it posts strong scores in average income, cost of living and unemployment, a combination that has landed the Commonwealth in the top five states for making a living for the past three years. Colorado moves up two spots from its 2012 ranking to earn the No. 3 spot, helped along by its ranking as the third-best state for work environment.

At the other end of the rankings, Hawaii’s cost of living – the highest in the U.S. – is a major factor in its poor rating. Its relatively high state tax burden also weighs it down. Even Hawaii’s workplace-environment score, which was the best in the survey, isn’t enough to keep it from the bottom spot.

Mississippi comes in just ahead of Hawaii to place as the second-worst state to make a living, primarily because of its low average income and high unemployment rate; it was the fourth-worst state to make a living in 2012. Rhode Island is the No. 3 worst state to make a living, due to the worst unemployment and workplace-environment scores in the nation.

Barrington says that the sharp discrepancies between some states, such as the unemployment rate in Rhode Island (9.9 percent) versus the unemployment rate in North Dakota (3.2 percent), means that workers should consider being flexible about where they look for work.

“People deserve to know if they could have a better shot at making a living somewhere else,” says Barrington. “Times are tough, but people in some states may be having a harder time than they need to. Relocation might help, it’s important for people to know they have options. This study could give workers ideas of where they might find a better place to earn a living.”

Here are MoneyRates.com’s 10 best states to make a living for 2013:

1. Washington
2. Virginia
3. Colorado
4. Texas
5. Wyoming
6. Minnesota
7. Nebraska
8. Utah
9. Kansas
10. Oklahoma

Below are MoneyRates.com’s 10 worst states to make a living for 2013:

41. South Dakota
42. Alaska
43. Vermont
44. West Virginia
45. New Jersey
46. South Carolina
47. New York
48.Rhode Island
49. Mississippi
50. Hawaii

For more details, please see the 10 Best States to Make a Living, 10 Worst States to Make a Living and the full 50-state-rankings.

Methodology
MoneyRates.com calculates these rankings using wage and unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cost of living data from C2ER (formerly ACCRA) and state tax information from Tax-Rates.org. This quantitative analysis is then adjusted for qualitative workplace conditions, according to each state's Workplace Environment rankings from 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 provides 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.
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