The 24 Worst States to Work In

Work is stressful for a lot of us, with increasing pressure to do more in less time, to work after hours, and to go above and beyond. And even if you resist that pressure, the stress of standing your ground and protecting your boundaries is exhausting, too. Burnout is awful. It’s bad for your and for your employers. Based on employee satisfaction index scores for income, employee turnover, sick days, commute time, average working hours, workplace safety, and paid time off, as well as other factors, here are the worst 24 states to work in.

1. Georgia

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Georgia is the worst-performing state, with an average commute time of 28.7 minutes. It has an overall job satisfaction score of 29.62. The state’s quitting rate is the highest at 3.6%, ranking it poorly on happiness and employee retention metrics.

2. Texas

Texas
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This state has one of the unhappiest workforces in the US. With an overall job satisfaction rate of 30.36, Texas poses devastating challenges for employees, with more than 500 fatal workplace injuries yearly. It has the second-longest working week with an average of 43.6 hours, raising questions about work-life balance.

3. Florida

Perdido Key State Park
Image Credit: Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Employees earn an annual income of $38,470 with an average hourly wage of $18. This rate is alarming when compared to Alaska’s $32. With a lengthy work week of 41.5 hours and a lack of PTO (paid time off) laws, Florida ranks high on this list with a total job satisfaction rate of 30.46.

4. New York

New York Skyline
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The Big Apple is notorious for its lengthy commute and boasts the most extended duration of 33.5 minutes. While the average annual income of $52,470 is the third-highest in the country, the state falls behind on safety. With a high injury rate, New York was responsible for 247 fatal injuries in the past year. Hence, the overall satisfaction score is 31.51.

5. South Carolina

Old Exchange Charleston South Carolina
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South Carolina has a high quit rate of 3.1% and ranks poorly on overall state happiness with an employee satisfaction score of 31.65. The annual income is $38,870, $13,000 less than Alaska, the state with the happiest employees.

6. Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania has one of the lowest levels of job satisfaction in the country. With a poor satisfaction score of 33.26, it falls below the national average. The Keystone State is a bad choice for job-hunting due to its high unemploymentrates.

7. Alabama

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Alabama is high on this list, with one of the unhappiest employees in the country. It has a low satisfaction rate of 32.68 due to low inclusiveness and poor health reforms. Moreover, its poor worker protection laws make it an unsafe state for employees.

8. Virginia

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Virginia has a low employee satisfaction rate of 33.26. Due to its worker protection and law enforcement, the state struggles to come through with its unemployment insurance program, which has been particularly concerning since the layoffs during the pandemic.

9. New Jersey

new jersey atlantic city
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New Jersey scores on the top ten list of worst states for employees, with a low satisfaction score of 34.09. With a median hourly wage of $24.56, employees struggle to be well-compensated for their work.

10. New Mexico

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With an employee satisfaction score of 34.25, New Mexico is the tenth worst state to work in. The law pay is unpromising and not in line with the experience of many employees. Poor management and legal protection make this state an unappealing choice for professional prospects.

11. Delaware

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With an average employee satisfaction rate of 34.60, Delaware offers easily one of the least conducive environments for professionals. Many employees complain about the lack of flexibility as the work-from-home option is unavailable in most occupations.

12. Kentucky

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Kentucky has one of the least satisfied workers, with a total satisfaction of 35.07. The state is a troublesome option for finding a job. The low median annual income and poor job security make this state one of the worst in terms of economic environment.

13. Idaho

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Idaho makes it to the list with an employee satisfaction rate of 35.45. What’s particularly alarming is the state’s poor working conditions for women. Working moms find employment in Idaho particularly difficult due to poor childcare policies.

14. Tennessee

Cityscape, Space Needle, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
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With recent laws showing the state’s discriminatory tendencies, few employees find it an inclusive workplace. With a score of 35.87, employee dissatisfaction may be attributed to the state’s political and legal reforms.

15. Michigan

Detroit, Michigan
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The state is notorious for its concerning work policies, such as the right-to-work law, taking away choices from employees. This political history can explain why Michigan’s unhappy workers have given it a 35.88 score.

16. Nevada

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With a score of 36.06, this Western U.S. state has left many professionals and job-seekers dissatisfied with its high unemployment rates. Considering the high cost of living, having a comfortable lifestyle with a modest wage is difficult.

17. Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Capitol Madison WI
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While the state has a decent average income, the wage disparity is too significant to be ignored. Wisconsin is also a costly state for those wishing to set up a business, thus explaining the 36.49 satisfaction score.

18. Arkansas

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With a score of 36.58, Arkansas is among the worst states for jobs, thanks to high unemployment rates. The Natural State is also plagued with social problems such as crime and inadequate healthcare.

19. New Hampshire

New Hampshire
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Though the state doesn’t impose an income tax on earned income, it isn’t entirely tax-free. A 5% tax is paid on income from interest and dividends. Similarly, property taxes are high, making it less ideal for those seeking to settle down for work. The state scores 36.64 on satisfaction.

20. Montana

Boulder Hot Springs Inn, Boulder
Image Credit: Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development.

The state isn’t as bad as others on this list regarding work options and flexibility, hence earning it a score of 36.97. However, many find the pay to be less than adequate for some sectors, making it a less-preferred state.

21. South Dakota

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Though the state doesn’t struggle with unemployment like many others, it falls short on compensation and options. With a score of 37.24, many find that most jobs in the state are low or unskilled labor with low wages.

22. Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi, USA skyline over the Capitol Building.
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Mississippi falls below the national average of job satisfaction with a score of 37.58. There are few opportunities for skilled workers, and much of the state’s workforce is among the country’s least educated. The low concentration of STEM workers also makes it less attractive for job-seekers.

23. North Carolina

North Carolina State Capitol
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The state’s poor labor laws, low worker protection, and lack of unemployment benefits earn it a spot on this list with a satisfaction score of 38.95. The minimum wage stands at $7.25, the same as Georgia.

24. Missouri

Gateway Arch National Park, St. Louis Missouri
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With a satisfaction score of 39.34, The Show Me State is bad for work and living due to its politics. The state’s stance on voting, reproductive rights, and high crime rates make it less appealing for professionals. Source: (SelectSoftware Reviews).

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Becky is a wildlife enthusiast and pet and livestock care expert with a diploma in canine nutrition. With over a decade of experience in animal welfare, Becky lends her expertise to Simple Family Preparedness through insightful info about pets, livestock, bee keeping, and the practicalities of homesteading.

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