Best Places to Make a Living: MoneyRates.com Ranks the Top States
by Richard Barrington, MoneyRates.com Senior Financial Analyst, CFA, May 23, 2017
This nation has come a long way since the Great Recession, but some state economies are coming ahead farther than others. Unemployment nationally is down below 5 percent, and wages are finally starting to rise.
However, some states are grappling with unemployment rates more than twice as high as in others. The highest-paying states have median wages that are about $15,000 above those of the lowest-paying states. There are some areas where it's not low wages that drag down the standard of living but expenses that drain savings accounts, as costs of living and/or state income tax rates are much higher than the national average. In still other cases, the risks are more tangible - a couple states have work-related health incident rates that are three times the national average.
All of these financial factors are especially important if you are thinking of moving to another state, or finding a way to jump-start your career. Are things likely to be tougher or easier if you relocate? To help you look before you leap, MoneyRates.com has assembled a list of the best and worst states to make a living.
This list is based on the following factors:
- Cost of Living
- Workplace safety
- State tax burdens
- Median wages
- Unemployment rates
Based on a combination of the above five factors, these are the best and worst states to make a living in 2017:…
Worst States to Make a Living 2017
While this study has had five different winners in seven years, Hawaii has finished dead last each time. Why is such a popular vacation spot such a bad place for making a living?
It really comes down to workers not getting much out of their paychecks because of a high cost of living and high taxes. While Hawaii has the tenth-highest median wage of any state, that is not enough to compensate for living expenses that are about two-thirds higher than in the rest of the nation. That problem is compounded by the third highest state income tax burden.
On the bright side, the unemployment rate in Hawaii is the second lowest in the U.S. One would expect that in time, that degree of labor demand would drive wages higher, allowing them to do a better job of adjusting for the high cost of living in Hawaii.
read … Best Places to Make a Living: MoneyRates.com Ranks the Top States
HNN: Hawaii named 'worst state to make a living' ... again