Best States for Sunshine

Sunshine is an under appreciated dimension when thinking about where to live.  It can improve your health and happiness.  Yet rarely do we hear people say they picked a state for its sunshine.  They think more about weather temperature, jobs, taxes, cost of living etc. Sunny states generally qualify as Best States for Retirement and are Happy States according to recent happiness studies.

The Best States for Sunshine are Arizona and Nevada.  Phoenix and Las Vegas each have 310 sunny days a year or 85% sunshine.

The Top 5 States for Sunshine, in addition to Arizona and Nevada, are California, New Mexico and Hawaii. Florida, the Sunshine State, is ranked 7th of all states.

The Worst State for Sunshine is Alaska with only 41% sunny days.  Anchorage has only 150 days a year of sunshine half of Phoenix and Las Vegas.

The 5 Worst States for Sunshine are Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Vermont and Ohio.  All 5 states have sun less than 50% of the time.
The List of Sunshine for all U.S. States is published below.

Rankings of  Sunshine by State

If you are considering what are the Best States for Weather, study the Best States for Sunshine.  You may just end up with happier choices.

Top States for Jobs September 2009

The Bureau of Labor Statistics BLS released the September 2009 List of State Unemployment last week.  23 States saw unemployment rise from August, 19 saw decreases and 8 were unchanged.  The US Unemployment rate for September 2009 was 9.8%.

New York was the Worst State for Jobs in September with a loss of 81,700 jobs.

 

Texas (-44,700), California (-39,300), Wisconsin(-21,700), and Michigan (-21,500) rounded out the 5 Worst States
for
Jobs in September. Michigan continues as the Worst State for Employment with a staggering 15.3%
unemployment rate.
Nevada, Alabama, Oregon and West Virginia are also in the 5 Worst States for Employment.
California is not far behind
as a worst state for jobs. See our post on California Jobs Shrinking


 


 
The Best State for Jobs in September 2009 was Indiana which gained 4,400 jobs. The Best State for Employment
was North Dakota with a 4.2% unemployment rate. Only 3 other states qualified as Best States for Jobs in September.
They were New Mexico (+3,700), Nevada (+2,700), and Utah (+2,500). Go to our lastest
September list of job openings by state
for more on where the job openingsAll states and the District of Columbia recorded statistically significant increases in their jobless rates on a year on year basis.
Michigan had the largest increase +6.4%.  Nevada, 6.0% and Alabama at 5.3% also had the highest increases in the U.S.
North Dakota had the smallest increase at +.9%.  The Year on Year change of Unemployment for all 50 States is below.

 

Rank State Sep-08 Sep-09 Change
1 NORTH DAKOTA 3.3 4.2 0.9
2 NEBRASKA 3.4 4.9 1.5
3 SOUTH DAKOTA 3.2 4.8 1.6
4 ALASKA 6.7 8.4 1.7
5 LOUISIANA 5.6 7.4 1.8
5 MISSISSIPPI 7.4 9.2 1.8
7 ARKANSAS 5.2 7.1 1.9
7 MINNESOTA 5.4 7.3 1.9
7 VERMONT 4.8 6.7 1.9
10 COLORADO 5 7 2
10 MONTANA 4.7 6.7 2
12 KANSAS 4.6 6.9 2.3
13 CONNECTICUT 6 8.4 2.4
14 IOWA 4.2 6.7 2.5
15 MARYLAND 4.6 7.2 2.6
15 VIRGINIA 4.1 6.7 2.6
17 OKLAHOMA 4 6.7 2.7
18 HAWAII 4.4 7.2 2.8
18 UTAH 3.4 6.2 2.8
20 MAINE 5.6 8.5 2.9
21 ARIZONA 6 9.1 3.1
21 DELAWARE 5.2 8.3 3.1
21 NEW YORK 5.8 8.9 3.1
21 TEXAS 5.1 8.2 3.1
25 MISSOURI 6.3 9.5 3.2
25 PENNSYLVANIA 5.6 8.8 3.2
27 NEW HAMPSHIRE 3.9 7.2 3.3
27 NEW MEXICO 4.4 7.7 3.3
27 OHIO 6.8 10.1 3.3
30 IDAHO 5.4 8.8 3.4
31 GEORGIA 6.6 10.1 3.5
31 INDIANA 6.1 9.6 3.5
33 TENNESSEE 6.9 10.5 3.6
33 WISCONSIN 4.7 8.3 3.6
33 WYOMING 3.2 6.8 3.6
36 MASSACHUSETTS 5.6 9.3 3.7
37 ILLINOIS 6.7 10.5 3.8
37 WASHINGTON 5.5 9.3 3.8
39 DC 7.4 11.4 4
39 KENTUCKY 6.9 10.9 4
39 NEW JERSEY 5.8 9.8 4
39 NORTH CAROLINA 6.8 10.8 4
43 SOUTH CAROLINA 7.5 11.6 4.1
44 FLORIDA 6.7 11 4.3
45 CALIFORNIA 7.8 12.2 4.4
46 RHODE ISLAND 8.5 13 4.5
47 WEST VIRGINIA 4.3 8.9 4.6
48 OREGON 6.8 11.5 4.7
49 ALABAMA 5.4 10.7 5.3
50 NEVADA 7.3 13.3 6
51 MICHIGAN 8.9 15.3 6.4

Where to Find a Job? Best States for Jobs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the July State unemployment numbers this past week.  More ugly in most states.

The Best States for Jobs are primarily heartland states.  The Best State for Jobs is North Dakota with an unemployment rate of only 4.2%.  Nebraska and South Dakota at 4.9% are the only other states under 5%.  Utah is our fourth Best State for Jobs at 6%.  You will have a decent chance to find a job in Iowa, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Montana.

If you are looking for a job in a state with very high unemployment, you might want to consider a state where the opportunities are broader and fewer people looking.  In other words, consider changing your state.  Michigan at 15.2% is the Worst State for Jobs. Approximately  1 in every 6 people are unemployed.  Rhode Island, Nevada, Oregon and California are some of the Worst States for Jobs with rates all close to 12%.

High unemployment also creates a reinforcing negative cycle.  Unemployment creates downward pressure on real estate, commerce and social institutions.   It does not turn around quickly.  While unemployment is one very important metric in your search for employment, job openings i.e. who is hiring now? should also be considered.  For recent info on job openings by state see Best States for Job Openings

 

July U.S. State Unemployment List

 

1 NORTH DAKOTA 4.2
2 NEBRASKA 4.9
2 SOUTH DAKOTA 4.9
4 UTAH 6
5 IOWA 6.5
5 OKLAHOMA 6.5
5 WYOMING 6.5
8 MONTANA 6.7
9 NEW HAMPSHIRE 6.8
9 VERMONT 6.8
11 VIRGINIA 6.9
12 HAWAII 7
12 NEW MEXICO 7
14 MARYLAND 7.3
15 ARKANSAS 7.4
15 KANSAS 7.4
15 LOUISIANA 7.4
18 COLORADO 7.8
18 CONNECTICUT 7.8
20 TEXAS 7.9
21 MINNESOTA 8.1
22 DELAWARE 8.2
23 ALASKA 8.3
24 MAINE 8.4
25 PENNSYLVANIA 8.5
26 NEW YORK 8.6
27 IDAHO 8.8
27 MASSACHUSETTS 8.8
29 WEST VIRGINIA 9
29 WISCONSIN 9
31 WASHINGTON 9.1
32 ARIZONA 9.2
33 MISSOURI 9.3
33 NEW JERSEY 9.3
35 MISSISSIPPI 9.7
36 ALABAMA 10.2
37 GEORGIA 10.3
38 ILLINOIS 10.4
39 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 10.6
39 INDIANA 10.6
41 FLORIDA 10.7
41 TENNESSEE 10.7
43 KENTUCKY 11
43 NORTH CAROLINA 11
45 OHIO 11.2
46 SOUTH CAROLINA 11.8
47 CALIFORNIA 11.9
47 OREGON 11.9
49 NEVADA 12.5
50 RHODE ISLAND 12.7
51 MICHIGAN 15

50 States 50 Laboratories, More on the Best and Worst States

We found the recent Economist article, California vs Texas: America’s Future  a positive contribution to the debate on Best and Worst States.

The article points out the marked differences between states and helpsmake the case that the lower tax, less government intrusion model of Texas is winning over California.  This is a case we have long advocated. The Economist also notes the work that this writer has developed overthe last 5 years on Chief Executive’s Best and Worst States for Business.  (Texas is #1 and California is #50 according to CEOs.)

We also would like to make note of a recent blog written by Kurt Brouer titled California or Texas: Which Model is Working Best?  Kurt’s Fundmasteryblog.com is getting it right by making the low tax, more personal freedom case.

With all 50 state governments under severe fiscal pressure, it is only a matter of time that the next phase of recovery will be focused on growth.  You can not spend your way out of a problem.  The severity of this budget crisis may lead finally to a rethinking of attitudes towards business. My list of states that need major rethinking would start with the 10 most broke states.  They are:

1. California: $53.7 billion shortfall or 58 percent of its budget
2. Arizona: $4 billion shortfall or 41 percent of its budget
3. Nevada: $1.2 billion or 38 percent of its budget
4. Illinois: $9.2 billion or 33 percent of its budget
5. New York: $17.9 billion or 32 percent of its budget
6. Alaska: $1.35 billion shortfall or 30 percent of its budget
7. New Jersey: $8.8 billion or 30 percent of its budget
8. Oregon: $4.2 billion or 29 percent of its budget
9. Vermont: $278 million or 25 percent of its budget
10.  Washington: $3.6 billion or 23 percent of its budget
10.  Connecticut: $4.1 billion or 23 percent of its budget

Source:  ABC News

The Top Ten Broke States tend to have the most taxation and most are run by liberal oriented governments.

All 50 states will be politically pressured to increase opportunities and jobs for their populations in the coming years.  Being attractive to business will be the obvious choice.  The wonders of our American system are our many state laboratories.  High Tax States, Low Tax States, Business Friendly States and Business Unfriendly States.  Those states early to adopt policies that encourage business will recover and grow faster than those who are slow.  We are glad to see more publications like The Economist contributing to the debate.  Hopefully we will start to see more low tax, business friendly policy changes in our many laboratories get enacted.

Are Pay Equity Studies Equitable? Are State Rankings Meaningful?

Are Pay Equity Studies Equitable?  Are State Rankings meaningful?

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) http://www.aauw.org recently published a state ranking of pay equity for college educated women as compared to men.

The report found that in the United States, the earnings gap between college educated men and women over 25 years of age and who work full-time year round was 71%, meaning these women make 29 cents less on the dollar nationally. They also reported the differences in pay equity by state.

While we do not dispute the numbers as put forth by the study i.e. women typically are paid less than men, we do question the validity of the issue and the reasons typically put forth for its existance.   We believe it presents a one sided argument in favor of legislation supporting the “Paycheck Fairness Act.”  The AAUW supports legislation that would close the gap with legislation.  The study has received significant publicity without some common sense rebuttal.

Why do we question the fairness and validity of this study?

We think many other factors also influence pay.

Should experience matter?  Would it be fair to require people with more experience to be paid the same as those with less experience?

Should training and knowledge matter?  Would it be fair to require pay to be the same for people with less training than others?

We believe training and experience should matter!!

The AAUW study neglects to point out that there are significant differences between men and women in the work place.

The Social Security Administration http://www.socialsecurity.gov reports that women typically work 13 years less than men during their lifetimes.  13 years of less work experience for any person is meaningful.  You would expect those with less work experience regardless of sex to be paid less on average.

Women typically also leave the workforce to raise children.  One study has measured the average time women leave the workforce for child rearing at 11.5 years.  Women work less work years.  This typically also leads to less training and development of computer and other specific job skills that are part of the pay criteria.  Much of this is learned on the job.  It is common sense to expect people with less training and less experience to be paid less.

While we highly respect the important contributions that women make to our world, we do not believe the AAUW study should be considered as an important fact to support pay fairness.  Many women as matter of choice, happily leave the workforce.   We hope for the benefit of fairness that this study and the “Pay Fairness Act” do not become accepted wisdom and law.

The chart below is from the Urban Institute  The Urban Institute recognizes and charts the differences in male/female work experience. Men work significantly more years than women.
Cumulative Distribution of Work Years
The “Best and Worst States for Pay Equity” are listed below.  Read them with caution.  Interestingly we could not find any obvious conclusions from the listings.

The “Best State for Pay Equity” is Vermont.  Nearby New Hampshire is one of the “Worst States for Pay Equity.”  Does this suggest that employers in Vermont are more “fair” to women than in New Hampshire?  Why?

Are employers in Wisconsin or Montana fundamentally more “fair” than nearby poorly ranked Iowa?  Are there factors other than male/female pay discrimination that are more influential that create lower average pay for women in Iowa?  For example, do families in Wisconsin have a lower value for child rearing resulting in more work time for women and thus more pay?  We think that would be a meaningless conclusion.

There are many factors that influence differences in pay between the sexes.  We think state by state rankings offer limited insight and create numerous questions for understanding why.

Best States for Pay Equity

1) Vermont 87%
2) Hawaii 83%
3) Delaware 80%
4) New York 78%
5) Montana 77%
6) Wyoming 77%
7) New Mexico 77%
8) Wisconsin 76%
9) Oregon 76%
10) Nevada 75%

Worst States for Pay Equity


42) Utah 69%
43) Michigan 68%
44) Arkansas 68%
45) Iowa 68%
46) New Hampshire 68%
47) Oklahoma 67%
48) Virginia 67%
49) Mississippi 67%
50) West Virginia 67%
51) Louisiana 65
%

Finally, the AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE, said “Our analysis is quite disturbing, especially when you consider how more and more families are depending on a woman’s paycheck as the primary source of income in these tough economic times. Consequently, the issue of pay equity takes on an added sense of urgency. This is just one of the reasons why we’re urging the Senate to join the House and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act,”

We disagree.

The “Paycheck Fairness Act” would be unfair if it punishes experience and training. Fairness requires that all people regardless of sex should be paid on the basis of experience and training as well.

Are Business Friendly States Best for Jobs?

Editors Note:  If you are looking for a Best State for Jobs start your search with our latest posts:

 

Which States had the Best Employment Markets in 2009? Will 2010 Job Market Improve?

Best States for Job Openings September 2009

Best States for Job Openings and Where to find a Job

For the August 2009 list of Best States for Employment see Best and Worst States for Employment

Click on the category Best and Worst States for Jobs on the right navigation for our collection of articles on Jobs.

In our Job Openings post you will see the trends by state in job openings and what states are currently experiencing increased job openings.  We also have published the List of Job Openings by State

******Editor’s Note:  The rest of this post was published in April 2009 Go to  Best and Worst States   for our latest  *********************

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the March State Unemployment rates this week.   For our August 2009 listing and analysis of Best States for Job Openings click

We now have 8 states with unemployment above 10%.  Michigan is the Worst State for Jobs with an unemployment rate of 12.6%. Oregon is also very bad for jobs with a rate of 12.1%.  California, our most populated state, has an unemployment of 11.2% meaning that 1 out of 9 people are out of work. South Carolina also is a Worst State for Jobs with unemployment of 11.4%.

The  Best State for Jobs in March was North Dakota at 4.2%.  The other Top 5 States for Jobs were Wyoming at 4.5%, Nebraska at 4.6%, South Dakota at 4.9%.  Iowa and Utah were tied for fifth with 5.2% unemployment.

We thought we would take a look this month also at how states that are ranked for small business are doing on the job front.  In theory the better the small business environment the better the job environment.  We used the recently released SBEC report.  See: Best and Worst States for Small Business

The data shows that the Best States for Small Business are not all the Best States for Jobs at this moment.  5 of the top 10 Best States for Small Business, for example, have below average i.e. higher, unemployment. 45th ranked Iowa for example has the 4th best employment in the U.S.

As mentioned in the previous post, the SBEC index is primarily a tax based system and high or lower taxes are not the only reason companies grow and create jobs.  It would appear intuitive over time business friendly states should create more business and jobs. We will continue to watch this during the cycle as the better states may grow first and faster.

           Small
Rank State %Unemp  Biz Rank
1 NORTH DAKOTA 4.2 36
2 WYOMING 4.5 3
3 NEBRASKA 4.6 40
4 SOUTH DAKOTA 4.9 1
5 IOWA 5.2 45
5 UTAH 5.2 24
7 LOUISIANA 5.8 26
8 NEW MEXICO 5.9 27
8 OKLAHOMA 5.9 15
10 KANSAS 6.1 33
10 MONTANA 6.1 31
12 NEW HAMPSHIRE 6.2 25
13 ARKANSAS 6.5 23
14 TEXAS 6.7 5
15 VIRGINIA 6.8 16
16 MARYLAND 6.9 35
16 WEST VIRGINIA 6.9 39
18 IDAHO 7 41
19 HAWAII 7.1 37
20 VERMONT 7.2 43
21 COLORADO 7.5 8
21 CONNECTICUT 7.5 30
23 DELAWARE 7.7 21
24 ARIZONA 7.8 17
24 MASSACHUSETTS 7.8 42
24 NEW YORK 7.8 46
24 PENNSYLVANIA 7.8 29
28 MAINE 8.1 48
29 MINNESOTA 8.2 49
30 NEW JERSEY 8.3 50
31 ALASKA 8.5 7
31 WISCONSIN 8.5 32
33 MISSOURI 8.7 14
34 ALABAMA 9 9
35 ILLINOIS 9.1 18
36 GEORGIA 9.2 19
36 WASHINGTON 9.2 4
38 MISSISSIPPI 9.4 12
39 TENNESSEE 9.6 13
40 FLORIDA 9.7 6
40 OHIO 9.7 10
42 DC 9.8 51
42 KENTUCKY 9.8 28
44 INDIANA 10 22
45 NEVADA 10.4 2
46 RHODE ISLAND 10.5 44
47 NORTH CAROLINA 10.8 38
48 CALIFORNIA 11.2 47
49 SOUTH CAROLINA 11.4 11
50 OREGON 12.1 34
51 MICHIGAN 12.6 20

Best and Worst States for Seatbelt Usage, Michigan Best, Massachusetts Worst

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released 2008 data on State seat belt usage.

The Best State for Seatbelt Usage is Michigan with a 97.2% usage.  The other top 5 Best States are Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and California.

The Worst State for Seatbelt Usage is Massachusetts with only a 66.8% usage.  The other Worst 5 States are Wyoming, New Hampshire, Arkansas and Mississippi.

These stats tend to get wide publicity and embolden states to take more action against citizens who do not use seat belts.

22 states do not allow police officers to stop motorists for not wearing a seat belt.  Primary States, those that allow stopping drivers for no seat belts, tend to have the highest seat belt usage.

According to a 2001 study of US crash data, it was found that previous estimates of seat belt effectiveness had been significantly overstated. According to the analysis used, seat belts were claimed to have decreased fatalities by 1.35% for each 10% increase in seat belt use.  Many drivers would prefer not to be pulled over for lack of seat belt usage.  Should we be asking our limited police departments to pull over drivers for not using seat belts? Are there more important “crimes” that our police should be pursuing?  Are drivers in Massachusetts that much more dangerous than Michigan?
See:

‘The Effects of Mandatory Seat Belt Laws on Driving Behavior and Traffic Fatalities’ by Alma Cohen and Liran Einav at Harvard Law School      
State Seat Belt use %Change
1 Michigan 97.20% 3.50%
2 Hawaii 97.00% -0.60%
3 Washington 96.50% 0.10%
4 Oregon 96.30% 1.00%
5 California 95.70% 1.10%
6 Maryland 93.30% 0.20%
7 Iowa 92.90% 1.60%
8 New Jersey 91.80% 0.40%
9 Delaware 91.30% 4.70%
10 Indiana 91.20% 3.30%
11 Texas 91.20% -0.60%
12 New Mexico 91.10% -0.40%
13 Nevada 90.90% -1.30%
14 Illinois 90.50% 0.40%
15 Dist. Of Columbia 90.00% 2.90%
16 North Carolina 89.80% 1.00%
17 Georgia 89.60% 0.60%
18 West Virginia 89.50% -0.10%
19 New York 89.10% 5.60%
20 Connecticut 88.00% 2.20%
21 Vermont 87.30% 0.20%
22 Minnesota 86.70% -1.10%
23 Alabama 86.10% 3.80%
24 Utah 86.00% -0.80%
25 Pennsylvania 85.10% -1.60%
26 Alaska 84.90% 2.50%
27 Oklahoma 84.30% 1.20%
28 Maine 83.00% 3.20%
29 Nationwide 83% 1%
30 Ohio 82.70% 1.10%
31 Montana 82.60% 3.90%
32 Colorado 81.70% 0.60%
33 Florida 81.70% 2.60%
34 North Dakota 81.60% -0.60%
35 Tennessee 81.50% 1.30%
36 Virginia 80.60% 0.70%
37 Arizona 79.90% -1.00%
38 South Carolina 79.00% 4.50%
39 Kansas 77.40% 2.40%
40 Idaho 76.90% -1.60%
41 Missouri 75.80% -1.40%
42 Louisiana 75.50% 0.30%
43 Wisconsin 74.20% -1.10%
44 Kentucky 73.30% 1.50%
45 Rhode Island 72.00% -7.10%
46 South Dakota 71.80% -1.20%
47 Mississippi 71.30% -0.50%
48 Arkansas 70.40% 0.50%
49 New Hampshire 69.20% 5.40%
50 Wyoming 68.60% -3.60%
51 Massachusetts 66.80% -1.90%

Source:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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Best and Worst States for Happiness?

Mainstreet.com has recently published a ranking of states called the “Happiness index.”

It is a knock off of the famous “misery index” that was so politically influential in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

The Best State for Happiness is NebraskaIowa, Kansas, Hawaii and Louisiana round out the top 5.

The Worst State for Happiness is Oregon Florida, California, Rhode Island and Nevada round out the bottom 5 of the Worst States for Happiness.

While we find the index interesting, it really should be viewed as a simple financial happiness index as it does not factor many other issues that contirbute to the happiness of a population in a state.  For example, for livability Louisiana is rated 46th one of the worst states see our blog Livability Index.   Hawaii is a very high cost of living state and even if you are employed lifestyle may still be challenging.

The index also does not factor in any other factors such as health, weather or rankings of mental happiness so while useful I would suggest you take a much broader look at other factors in a state than this simple “Happiness Index.”  Many of these other factors are discussed in posts on this site.

Happiness Index
www.mainstreet.com

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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