Career Builder Openings Continue to Alarmingly Shrink, No Improvement in Big States

With the U.S. unemployment rate now at the 25 year high of 9.4%, some in the media have suggested it is good news that the rate of job loss is slowing.  While there may be a glitter of hope in the lower number of job loss filings, the fact is job openings must improve in order to start absorbing the unemployed.  The question is when will corporations start hiring more and where.  The U.S. unemployment rate will not improve until job openings increase.

We have reported that job openings fell dramatically from January 2009 to March 14, 2009(See:  Job Openings Drop Nationwide in first 45 Days of Obama).  Job openings continued to drop but at a slower rate.

Best and Worst States analysis shows that job openings on careerbuilder.com have dropped 10.6% from Jan 29 to May 31 2009. Job openings less than 30 days old decreased to 210,048 as of May 31, 2009 from 235,059 as of January 29, 2009.  More importantly, job openings dropped further since March 14, 2009 when we last reported.  Job losses dropped 1.4% from 213,077 to 210,048.  One might cheer at only a 1.4% loss in 45 days but if your portfolio declined about 1% per month you should consider this alarming.  We are still losing job openings at the alarming rate of 1%  per month.  This is not what recoveries are built upon.

More importantly, all 10 of the biggest states have seen job opening drops since January.  These 10 states represented 54% of all the open jobs on Career Builder in May.  These states have seen a drop in openings of 12.25% since January, larger than the country average.  Illinois was the Worst State for Job Openings with a decline of 20.4%.  California at 16.6% decline was the second Worst State for Job Openings. New York at minus 14.3%, New Jersey at minus 13.2% and Pennsylvania at minus 10.6% job opening loss round out the 5 Worst States for Job Openings.

8 States showed improvement in job openings since January.  These states showed small job increases.  The Best State for Job Opening Improvement was South Carolina.  Its job openings increased by only 237 or 7.6%.  Kentucky at 134 and Indiana at 133 were the only other states that saw job openings improve by greater than 100.

Here is the listing of Job Openings by State for May 31,2009 as compared to Jan 31, 2009.

May-31-09 29-Jan-09 %Since 1-29
1 California 21565 25855 -4290 -16.6%
2 Texas 17988 20051 -2063 -10.3%
3 Florida 14119 15174 -1055 -7.0%
4 New York 11189 13057 -1868 -14.3%
5 Illinois 10912 13702 -2790 -20.4%
6 Pennsylvania 9964 11141 -1177 -10.6%
7 New Jersey 7492 8628 -1136 -13.2%
8 Ohio 7554 8276 -722 -8.7%
9 Virginia 6822 7186 -364 -5.1%
10 North Carolina 6359 6803 -444 -6.5%
11 Maryland 5872 6552 -680 -10.4%
12 Georgia 5500 5992 -492 -8.2%
13 Arizona 5237 5992 -755 -12.6%
14 Massachusetts 4810 6168 -1358 -22.0%
15 Michigan 4906 5541 -635 -11.5%
16 Washington 4354 4914 -560 -11.4%
17 Indiana 4864 4731 133 2.8%
18 Missouri 4451 4458 -7 -0.2%
19 Colorado 3735 4214 -479 -11.4%
20 Tennessee 4321 4413 -92 -2.1%
21 Connecticut 3633 4531 -898 -19.8%
22 Wisconsin 3760 4314 -554 -12.8%
23 Minnesota 3257 4193 -936 -22.3%
24 South Carolina 3373 3136 237 7.6%
25 Kansas 3232 3236 -4 -0.1%
26 Louisiana 3082 3494 -412 -11.8%
27 Kentucky 2897 2763 134 4.8%
28 Iowa 2322 2499 -177 -7.1%
29 Alabama 2551 2567 -16 -0.6%
30 Oklahoma 2083 2269 -186 -8.2%
31 Nevada 1732 1865 -133 -7.1%
32 Oregon 1667 1832 -165 -9.0%
33 Mississippi 1535 1548 -13 -0.8%
34 New Mexico 1369 1423 -54 -3.8%
35 Utah 1123 1236 -113 -9.1%
36 Arkansas 1347 1414 -67 -4.7%
37 Nebraska 1016 1230 -214 -17.4%
38 Delaware 855 1057 -202 -19.1%
39 Alaska 826 805 21 2.6%
40 Hawaii 761 865 -104 -12.0%
41 West Virginia 757 856 -99 -11.6%
42 New Hampshir 592 694 -102 -14.7%
43 Rhode Island 591 707 -116 -16.4%
44 South Dakota 673 585 88 15.0%
45 Idaho 703 665 38 5.7%
46 Vermont 562 659 -97 -14.7%
47 North Dakota 466 438 28 6.4%
48 Maine 459 449 10 2.2%
49 Montana 455 508 -53 -10.4%
50 Wyoming 355 373 -18 -4.8%
Entire U.S. 210048 235059 -25011 -10.6%

Source:  Best and Worst States and CareerBuilder.com

Finally, the recent drop is all the more alarming as there has been a headwindof positive stimulus.  The U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Actwas signed into law on February 14, 2009 about one month prior to ourlast measurement.  March was also the bottom of the stock market dropwith a strong rally of 25.6% in the Dow from March to May.  Onewould expect improvement in view of the great wealth effect of thestock market and the government stimulus.  We will update more fully job changes since March when the stock market began to recover in an upcoming post.  Signs of encouragement for job openings are not yet strong.

Best and Worst States for Motorists

The National Motorists Association (NMA) has published a Best and Worst States for Motorists list.  Just in time for the holiday weekend.  The NMA is against entrapment, cameras and other measures that enhance a state’s ability to write tickets and fine motorists.

With states facing huge shortfalls in revenue,  ticket writing will be a high priority.  The list highlights the states from Best to Worst.  Be careful driving.  The Worst States for Motorists also are some of the states facing the largest budget shortfalls.  Hold on to your wallet if you are driving in these states.  The 5 Worst States are New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland, Louisiana and New York.  The Best States, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska and Kentucky seem to be gentler places to live.

Best and Worst States for Motorists
1 Wyoming
2 Idaho
3 Montana
4 Nebraska
5 Kentucky
6 North Dakota
7 Minnesota
8 Indiana
9 South Dakota
10 Utah
11 Wisconsin
12 Mississippi
13 Kansas
14 Alaska
15 Arkansas
16 Hawaii
17 Iowa
18 South Carolina
19 Connecticut
20 Georgia
21 Nevada
22 Oklahoma
23 Texas
24 Missouri
25 New Mexico
26 Arizona
27 New Hampshire
28 West Virginia
29 Rhode Island
30 Alabama
31 North Carolina
32 Pennsylvania
33 Florida
34 Maine
35 Vermont
36 Michigan
37 California
38 Tennessee
39 Oregon
40 Colorado
41 Massachusetts
42 Washington
43 Virginia
44 Delaware
45 Illinois
46 New York
47 Louisiana
48 Maryland
49 Ohio
50 New Jersey

Source:National Motorist Association

 

List of Criteria Used To Generate Rankings (no particular order)

1) Speed Traps Per Capita (# of speed traps listed on www.speedtrap.org indexed to population)
2) Does the state have “driver responsibility” fees?
3) Does the state have mayor’s courts?
4) Does the state authorize the use of roadblocks?
5) What are the freeway speed limits?
6) Does the state have red-light cameras?
7) Does the state have speed cameras?
8) Are there toll roads in the state?
9) Is a jury trial available for traffic violations?
10) Is trial by declaration (asserting a defense in writing without appearing in court) available?
11) Is the state a member of the Non-Resident Violator Compact?
12) Is the state a member of the Driver’s License Compact?
13) Are radar detectors banned in the state?
14) Does the state have a primary seat belt law?
15) Are there adult helmet laws in the state?
16) Are there move-over laws in the state?
17) Is cell phone use banned?

Best States for Gardening Weather

Farmers Almanac has recently published a fun list on the Best States for Gardening Weather.

The Best State for Gardening Weather is North Carolina. Kentucky was ranked 2nd Best.

While it does not appear to be a scientific poll, the survey strikes a chord about old fashioned values.  Good gardening and good neighbors seem to go together. Go to Farmers Almanac to see some of the comments on why states were selected.

If you are looking for a places to live where the gardening weather is good, this may be helpful.

Best State Weather for Gardening
Rank State % Vote
1 North Carolina 20%
2 Kentucky 13%
3 Texas 11%
4 California 11%
5 Florida 11%
6 Missouri 8%
7 New Jersey 7%
Source: Farmers Almanac

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Best and Worst States for Car Insurance: Does Safety Matter?

Insurance.com publishes a monthly listing of car insurance rates.  We thought you might like to see March results.

We also thought it might be interesting to see if safe drivers as measured by the annual GMAC driver safety study had a measurable benefit in insurance rates.

The Best State for Car Insurance is Vermont with an estimated annual premium of $1,304.  It ranks 18 in the GMAC Safe Driver Study.  The 4 other Best States for Car Insurance, i.e. the lowest premiums, are Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin and Idaho.  The safest state of the top 5 according to GMAC is Idaho with a safe driver rank of 4.  The safest driver state, Kansas, ranks 22 in car insurance premiums.

The Worst State for Car Insurance,( we put DC in a world of its own), is Louisiana with a premium of $2617 more than double that of Vermont!!!  It also ranks 44 on the GMAC Safe Driver Study.  New Jersey the Worst State for Safe Driving in the US has one of the highest car insurance rates rate just below Louisiana.  Rounding out the Worst States for Car Insurance are Delaware, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania.  All these state rate below average in the GMAC study.

Of the popular retirement states Tennessee is best rated for low premiums at 11.  Arizona at 25 and Florida at 36 are more middle of the pack

Car Insurance rates have dropped over the last 6 months yet are still higher than a year ago.  From a look of the list it appears that drivers who know the rules of the road benefit from safer roads and lower car insurance premiums.  It may be beneficial for insurance companies to offer discounts to drivers who take a car exam annually that demonstrates they know the rules of the road.

State Premium $$ Change % Change Safe Rank
1 VT $1,304 $47 3.70% 18
2 OH $1,320 $1 0.10% 26
3 IA $1,335 ($32) -2.30% 9
4 WI $1,348 ($28) -2.00% 12
5 ID $1,396 $14 1.00% 4
6 ME $1,406 $59 4.30% 31
7 NH $1,504 ($64) -4.10% 30
8 IN $1,528 $25 1.70% 11
9 SD $1,550 $97 6.70% 6
10 IL $1,559 $19 1.20% 32
11 TN $1,563 $1 0.00% 33
12 MT $1,573 ($39) -2.40% 15
13 NC $1,577 ($42) -2.60% 22
14 OR $1,586 ($23) -1.40% 8
15 AL $1,611 $29 1.80% 15
16 CO $1,611 ($28) -1.70% 15
17 NE $1,625 $91 5.90% 3
18 GA $1,626 ($46) -2.70% 47
19 MO $1,629 $5 0.30% 14
20 SC $1,638 ($24) -1.50% 39
21 VA $1,667 ($78) -4.50% 40
22 KS $1,668 $4 0.30% 1
23 ND $1,722 $58 3.50% 21
24 MN $1,728 $97 5.90% 5
25 AZ $1,739 ($93) -5.10% 36
26 CA $1,813 ($15) -0.80% 33
27 NM $1,845 ($16) -0.90% 22
28 UT $1,864 ($35) -1.90% 13
29 WA $1,882 $34 1.80% 9
30 OK $1,900 $54 2.90% 22
31 TX $1,921 ($55) -2.80% 18
32 AR $1,929 $17 0.90% 6
33 WY $1,934 $16 0.90% 2
34 MS $1,953 $19 1.00% 46
35 KY $1,984 ($52) -2.60% 29
36 FL $2,015 $8 0.40% 28
37 MI $2,076 ($49) -2.30% 18
38 CT $2,095 ($56) -2.60% 33
39 WV $2,095 $76 3.80% 43
40 NV $2,142 ($40) -1.90% 36
41 MD $2,144 ($48) -2.20% 42
42 PA $2,248 $65 3.00% 36
43 RI $2,356 ($32) -1.30% 41
44 DE $2,520 $11 0.40% 26
45 NJ $2,556 $14 0.50% 51
46 LA $2,617 $3 0.10% 44
47 DC $2,862 ($18) -0.60% 50
48 NY n/a 49
49 MA n/a 48
50 HI n/a 45
51 AK n/a 6

Source:

2009 Best and Worst States for Small Business

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBEC)issued this week its 2009 Index of Best and Worst States for Entrepreneurship and Small Business.

According to the report,  the Index pulls together 16 different tax measures, and combines those into one tax score that allows the 50 states and District of Columbia to be compared and ranked.

The 16 measures are: 1) state’s top personal income tax rate, 2) state’s top individual capital
gains tax rate, 3) state’s top corporate income tax rate, 4) state’s top corporate capital gains tax
rate, 5) any added income tax on S-Corporations, 6) whether or not the state imposes an
alternative minimum tax on individuals, 7) whether or not the state imposes an alternative
minimum tax on corporations, 8) whether or not the state’s personal income tax brackets are
indexed for inflation, 9) property taxes, 10) consumption-based taxes (i.e., sales, gross receipts
and excise taxes), 11) whether or not the state imposes a death tax, 12) unemployment tax, 13)
whether or not the state has a tax limitation mechanism, 14) whether or not the state imposes an
Internet access tax, 15) gas tax, and 16) diesel tax.

The report is full of useful information.  While taxes are not the only factor in determining the Best or Worst State to Grow or Start a Business, they are a very important consideration.

The Best State for Small Business is South Dakota according to the Index.  The next 4 in order are Nevada, Wyoming, Washington and Texas.

The Worst State for Small Business is New Jersey if you do not count D.C.  Rounding out the Worst 5 States in order are Minnesota, Maine, California and New York. 

The States are currently increasing many of their taxes to address deficit issues.  Look for California and New York to rank even worse as they are loading up on all kinds of new taxes.  Texas which ranks high in many studies is the best large state.  Florida also has many attractive features and is ranked 6 in the study.

Go to the full report here for more info:

State

Index

1. South Dakota 11.10
2. Nevada 11.88
3. Wyoming 14.14
4. Washington 15.79
5. Texas 15.81
6. Florida 22.42
7. Alaska 24.91
8. Colorado 26.87
9. Alabama 28.13
10. Ohio 28.50
11. South Carolina 29.42
12. Mississippi 29.70
13. Tennessee 30.52
14. Missouri 31.42
15. Oklahoma 31.67
16. Virginia 32.26
17. Arizona 32.36
18. Illinois 33.66
19. Georgia 33.98
20. Michigan 34.54
21. Delaware 35.00
22. Indiana 35.05
23. Arkansas 35.12
24. Utah 35.39
25. New Hampshire 35.50
26. Louisiana 35.68
27. New Mexico 35.74
28. Kentucky 35.89
29. Pennsylvania 36.26
30. Connecticut 37.75
31. Montana 38.01
32. Wisconsin 38.21
33. Kansas 39.05
34. Oregon 39.23
35. Maryland 39.38
36. North Dakota 39.48
37. Hawaii 39.88
38. North Carolina 41.03
39. West Virginia 41.27
40. Nebraska 42.09
41. Idaho 43.08
42. Massachusetts 44.60
43. Vermont 44.86
44. Rhode Island 45.64
45. Iowa 49.15
46. New York 49.36
47. California 49.69
48. Maine 49.86
49. Minnesota 50.79
50. New Jersey 51.09
51.Dist. Of Columbia 58.32

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Tax Freedom Day 2009: Pick Your State Carefully

The Tax Foundation recently released their 2009 Tax Freedom Day Study.  It measures how many days the average worker must work to  pay taxes. There is a wide disparity among states. The tax burden you bear can significantly impact your quality of life.

The Best State for Tax Freedom is Alaska where it takes 82 days almost 25% of the year just to pay taxes.  Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota, North Dakota and West Virginia are also rated Best States for Tax Freedom.  If you are not retired, these states would be considered as candidates for Best States to Work.

The Worst State for Tax Freedom is Connecticut where it takes 120 days or until April 30 to pay taxes.  If you live in Connecticut 1/3 of your time every year goes to pay taxes to the Federal, State and Local governments.  That is almost 50% more days than Alaska.  New Jersey, New York, California and Maryland are also rated Worst States for Tax Freedom.

According to the Tax Foundation study, five major categories of tax dominate the tax burden. Individual income taxes, both federal and state, require 38 days’ work. Payroll taxes take another 27 days’ work. Sales and excise taxes, mostly state and local, take 15 days to pay off. Corporate income taxes take 6 days, and property taxes take 12. Americans will log 4 more days to pay other miscellaneous taxes, most notably including motor vehicle license taxes and severance taxes, and about 1 day for estate taxes.

What state you live in is very important in determining your lifestyle as higher cost of living states tend to have higher tax burdens.  Lower disposable income is the result.  Many states are also increasing many taxes due to economic conditions which will increase tax burdens.  Noteworthy examples are the proposed increases in New York and California that will make these heavily burdened states more undesirable to live.  If you are not retired, New York and California would have to be considered as 2 of the Worst States to Work.

Tax
State Days Freedom Day
1 Alaska 82 23-Mar
2 Louisiana 87 28-Mar
3 Mississippi 87 28-Mar
4 South Dakota 88 29-Mar
5 North Dakota 91 1-Apr
6 West Virginia 91 1-Apr
7 Alabama 92 2-Apr
8 New Mexico 92 2-Apr
9 Montana 93 3-Apr
10 Kentucky 93 3-Apr
11 Oklahoma 94 4-Apr
12 Iowa 94 4-Apr
13 South Carolina 94 4-Apr
14 Arkansas 94 4-Apr
15 Tennessee 95 5-Apr
16 Wyoming 95 5-Apr
17 Missouri 96 6-Apr
18 Maine 96 6-Apr
19 Texas 96 6-Apr
20 Nebraska 98 8-Apr
21 Kansas 98 8-Apr
22 Nevada 98 8-Apr
23 Indiana 98 8-Apr
24 Florida 99 9-Apr
25 Oregon 99 9-Apr
26 North Carolina 99 9-Apr
27 Michigan 100 10-Apr
28 Arizona 100 10-Apr
29 New Hampshire 100 10-Apr
30 Ohio 101 11-Apr
31 Delaware 101 11-Apr
32 Vermont 102 12-Apr
33 Idaho 102 12-Apr
34 Georgia 102 12-Apr
35 Colorado 102 12-Apr
36 Illinois 103 13-Apr
37 Hawaii 103 13-Apr
38 Utah 103 13-Apr
39 Wisconsin 103 13-Apr
40 Pennsylvania 104 14-Apr
41 Rhode Island 104 14-Apr
42 Minnesota 105 15-Apr
43 Washington 106 16-Apr
44 Massachusetts 106 16-Apr
45 Virginia 106 16-Apr
46 Maryland 109 19-Apr
47 California 110 20-Apr
48 New York 115 25-Apr
49 New Jersey 119 29-Apr
50 Connecticut 120 30-Apr

Source: Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day

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State Unemployment Up Everywhere in Feb, Michigan tops 12% Unemployed

The February 2009 State Unemployment numbers were released this past week and they were not pretty. Every state in the U.S. saw its unemployment rate increase.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)  also released March Unemployment, along with Feb state data, and the nationwide unemployment rate increased again to 8.5% nationwide.  It was 8.1% in February.

Seven States had unemployment above 10% in February.  Michigan was the Worst State for Jobs with a whopping 12% unemployment number.  South Carolina, Oregon, North Carolina, California Rhode Island and Nevada also qualify as Worst States for Employment as the 6 other states with unemployment above 10% .

The Best State for Jobs based on a low 3.9% unemployment is Wyoming. 4 other states qualify as Best States for Employment with rates still below 5%.  They are:  Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.

Some of the state year on year changes are quite large.  Unemployment increased by over 100% from last year in Hawaii and Oregon for example.  Of the large states, Texas is holding up the best with unemployment of only 6.2% in February which was below the U.S. Feb average of 8.1%.

State data is released with a one month lag so expect March state unemployment to get even worse as unemployment increased nationwide in March by .4%.

State Feb-08 Feb-09 Change
1 Michigan 7.4 12 4.6
2 South Carolina 5.7 11 5.3
3 Oregon 5.4 10.8 5.4
4 North Carolina 5.2 10.7 5.5
5 California 6.2 10.5 4.3
6 Rhode Island 6.5 10.5 4
7 Nevada 5.5 10.1 4.6
8 District of Columbia 6.1 9.9 3.8
9 Florida 5.2 9.4 4.2
10 Indiana 5 9.4 4.4
11 Ohio 5.9 9.4 3.5
12 Georgia 5.4 9.3 3.9
13 Kentucky 5.6 9.2 3.6
14 Mississippi 5.9 9.1 3.2
15 Tennessee 5.5 9.1 3.6
16 Illinois . 5.9 8.6 2.7
17 Alabama 4.1 8.4 4.3
18 Washington 4.7 8.4 3.7
19 Missouri 5.5 8.3 2.8
20 New Jersey 4.7 8.2 3.5
21 Minnesota 5 8.1 3.1
22 Alaska 6.5 8 1.5
23 Maine 4.9 8 3.1
24 Massachusetts 4.6 7.8 3.2
25 New York 4.6 7.8 3.2
26 Wisconsin 4.5 7.7 3.2
27 Pennsylvania 4.8 7.5 2.7
28 Arizona 4.5 7.4 2.9
29 Connecticut 5.2 7.4 2.2
30 Delaware 4 7.4 3.4
31 Colorado 4.5 7.2 2.7
32 Vermont 4.4 7 2.6
33 Idaho 3.9 6.8 2.9
34 Maryland 3.7 6.7 3
35 Arkansas 4.8 6.6 1.8
36 Virginia 3.5 6.6 3.1
37 Hawaii 3.1 6.5 3.4
38 Texas 4.5 6.5 2
39 Montana 4 6 2
40 West Virginia 4.2 6 1.8
41 Kansas 4 5.9 1.9
42 Louisiana 3.8 5.7 1.9
43 Oklahoma 3.2 5.5 2.3
44 New Mexico 3.8 5.4 1.6
45 New Hampshire 3.7 5.3 1.6
46 Utah 3.3 5.1 1.8
47 Iowa 3.9 4.9 1
48 South Dakota 2.7 4.6 1.9
49 North Dakota 3 4.3 1.3
50 Nebraska 3 4.2 1.2
51 Wyoming 2.8 3.9 1.1
p = preliminary.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Best and Worst States for Income. Is highest the best?

Best and Worst States for Income in 2008

Connecticut is the Best State for Per Capita Income in 2008 with an average of $63,160.  It is followed by Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Wyoming.

The Worst State for Income is Mississippi with an average income of $31,836.  The next Worst States are West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky and South Carolina.

Higher income does not necessarily correlate to better lifestyle.  Connecticut, for example, is the Worst State for Taxes with the highest tax burden in the country.  Generally the highest income states have the highest tax burdens and higher cost of living index. See: Cost of Living by State

You could spend a lot more for the same house and have a lot less disposable income to enjoy life

State Income Per Capita Rank
Conn. $63,160 1
Mass. $56,661 2
N.J. $56,116 3
N.Y. $55,032 4
Wyo. $53,163 5
Md. $52,709 6
Nev. $49,371 7
Wash. $48,574 8
Colo. $48,300 9
N.H. $48,033 10
Calif. $47,706 11
Va. $47,666 12
Ill. $46,693 13
Hawaii $46,512 14
Fla. $46,293 15
Minn. $46,106 16
Del. $44,889 17
Alaska $44,872 18
R.I. $44,463 19
Pa. $43,796 20
Tex. $42,796 21
Vt. $42,626 22
Wis. $40,953 23
Kans. $40,784 24
Nebr. $40,499 25
N.D. $39,612 26
Ore. $39,444 27
Mich. $39,273 28
La. $39,116 29
S.D. $39,103 30
Ohio $38,925 31
Iowa $38,636 32
Okla. $38,415 33
Maine $38,309 34
Ariz. $38,174 35
Tenn. $38,090 36
Mo. $38,084 37
Ga. $37,850 38
N.C. $37,508 39
Ind. $37,279 40
Mont. $36,793 41
Idaho $36,492 42
Ala. $36,372 43
N.M. $36,031 44
Utah $35,971 45
S.C. $35,419 46
Ky. $34,339 47
Ark. $33,395 48
W.Va. $32,145 49
Miss. $31,836 50
U.S. $44,254
D.C. $70,730
Note: See table 38 for average people per household by state.
Source: Tax Foundation Special Report, No. 163, “State-Local Tax Burdens Dip as Income Growth Outpaces Tax Growth.” The income measure used adds the following to Bureau of Economic Analysis’s personal income measure: capital gains realizations, pension and life insurance distributions, corporate income taxes paid, and taxes on production and imports less subsidies. It subtracts from personal income the fungible portion of Medicare and Medicaid, estimated Medicare benefits that are provided via supplementary contributions, initial contributions to pension income and life insurance from employers, and the annual investment income of life insurance carriers and pensions that is included in personal income.

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Best and Worst States for Individual Taxes, Maryland Worst, 6 States Best

The Tax Foundation has recently published its 2009 ranking of the Best and Worst States for Individual Income Taxes.

The Best States for Individual Taxes are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming all rated a 10.0 in their Index.

The Worst State for Individual Taxes is Maryland.  Rounding out the bottom 5 Worst States in order are California, New Jersey, Ohio and Iowa.

If you want to keep more of the money you earn, pick a low tax state.  This list is useful.

Individual Income Tax Index, 2009
State Score (a) Rank
Alaska 10 1
Fla. 10 1
Nev. 10 1
S.D. 10 1
Wash. 10 1
Wyo. 10 1
Tex. 9.44 7
Tenn. 7.64 8
N.H. 7.55 9
Ill. 6.97 10
Ind. 6.72 11
Pa. 6.61 12
Utah 6.59 13
Colo. 6.41 14
Mich. 6.41 15
Mass. 6.41 16
Ala. 5.36 17
Miss. 5.35 18
N.M. 5.29 19
Va. 5.24 20
Kans. 5.2 21
Mont. 5.15 22
Ariz. 5.14 23
La. 5.09 24
Conn. 5.07 25
Okla. 5.01 26
Mo. 4.96 27
Del. 4.95 28
S.C. 4.93 29
Ga. 4.91 30
Ark. 4.87 31
Idaho 4.86 32
Nebr. 4.85 33
Ore. 4.84 34
N.D. 4.78 35
Ky. 4.78 36
N.C. 4.46 37
Hawaii 4.38 38
Minn. 4.34 39
Maine 4.33 40
W.Va. 4.33 41
R.I. 4.32 42
N.Y. 4.22 43
Wis. 4.21 44
Vt. 3.81 45
Iowa 3.7 46
Ohio 3.22 47
N.J. 3.18 48
Calif. 2.51 49
Md. 2.06 50
U.S. 5
D.C. 4.4
(a) The index is a measure of how each state’s tax laws affect economic performance.
The higher the score, the more favorable a state’s tax system is for business. All scores are for fiscal years.
Source: Tax Foundation Background Paper, No. 58, “2009 State Business Tax Climate In

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Cost of Living by State, Tennessee the Best, Hawaii Worst

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) has some valuable information on the the cost of living for each State.

The Best States for Cost of Living are Tennessee, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri and Arkansas.

The Worst States for Cost of Living are Hawaii, DC, California, New Jersey and Alaska.

Map below for cost of living is courtesy of MERIC.

The Best States for Housing Costs are Oklahoma, Tennessee, South Dakota, Texas and Missouri.

The Worst States for Housing Costs are Hawaii, DC, California, Maryland and New Jersey.

If you are looking for the Best State to Retire, the cost of living is a very important consideration.  If you want to stretch your dollar, look to the Southeast and Midwest and stay away from the North East.  Hope this helps.

Cost of Living Annual Map

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