The Best and Worst States In America To Work In Right Now

Portrait of  african man

Vladimir Vladimirov/istockphoto

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Portrait of  african man
Vladimir Vladimirov/istockphoto

Work It

The last few years have been a challenge for those in the workforce. The pandemic, inflation, and the passing of state laws which affect women's rights — all of these factors and others directly affect workers. Oxfam released its annual survey, which looks at compensation and conditions for workers in each state, and ranked the best and worst states to work in right now. Scores are based on wage policies, worker protections, and the right to organize. Here are the top 10 states (including Washington, D.C.) followed by the bottom 10 states based on scores that factored in wage policies, worker protections, and rights to organize.

Related: Best and Worst States for Older Workers

Sunrise at Portland, Oregon
Shunyu Fan/istockphoto
San Francisco lightrail drive to  the sea under Sunset
Space Needle and Seattle downtown
row houses on Capitol Hill washington DC

4. District of Columbia

Overall Score: 80.23

D.C. scored 100 when it came to rights for workers.

Times Square

5. New York

Overall Score: 79.31

New York was also given a score of 100 thanks to workers union laws and public employee rights. 

Charles River and Boston Panorama

6. Massachusetts

Overall Score: 76.36

The state actually dropped in ranking, and was in third place last year.

New Haven, Connecticut

7. Connecticut

Overall Score: 75.29

Connecticut moved up by one spot compared to last year's survey.

Aerial view of Newark New Jersey skyline

8. New Jersey

Overall Score: 74.77

New Jersey dropped two slots from its 6th position last year but is still one of the 10 best.

Denver Colorado downtown skyscrapers Boulder Flatirons red rocks Longs Peak Rocky Mountains

9. Colorado

Overall Score: 68.38

Colorado was in the top 10 best states last year as well.

Chicago CTA Elevated Train Downtown Urban Buildings

10. Illinois

Overall Score: 67.77

Illinois also rounded out the top 10 last year, and the state's score for wage policies went up a couple points. 

Boise, Idaho, USA
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

43. Idaho

Overall Score: 21.44

Idaho dropped two spots this year, which suggest that things got a little worse for workers in the Gem State.

Salt lake City Downtown

44. Utah

Overall Score: 18.94

Utah also was in the 10 worst states to work last year.

Oklahoma Route 66 Sign along the historic Route 66 in the State of Oklahoma, USA.

45. Oklahoma

Overall Score: 18.80

Things seem to have gotten worse for workers in Oklahoma as it dropped in ranking from last year.

Kansas City Downtown Skyline Streetcar

46. Kansas

Overall Score: 18.48

Kansas was in the same position in 2021, but the state's overall score dropped.

Autumn in Charleston

47. South Carolina

Overall Score: 12.51

The state received a zero when it came to workers right to organize.

Houston, Texas, USA
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

48. Texas

Overall Score: 11.56

Texas also received a score of zero when it came to workers' right to organize.

Mobile Alabama Skyline

49. Alabama

Overall Score: 10.06

Alabama received low scores for wage policies.

Aerial view downtown Atlanta skyline

50. Georgia

Overall Score: 7.52

Georgia moved up one spot from last year, no longer making it one of the bottom two states.

Jackson, Mississippi Skyline

51. Mississippi

Overall Score: 7.11

The state received a score of zero for worker protection.

Raleigh North Carolina Skyline
Mark Howard/istockphoto

52. North Carolina

Overall Score: 4.55

The state continues to come in last place, thanks to low scores on all areas for workers.

Austin, Texas