Best States for Gainful Employment

This began with a simple question: “What is the best state in the United States to live in for gainful employment?” One important variable is the median household income. Obviously the more income that a median household earns the more potential there is for gainful employment. Another important variable to examine is the cost of living in a state. This is because a lower cost of living equates to lower expenses as a household. If a person has a high household income and fewer expenses then they have more money in their pocket at the end of the day.   A third variable is the unemployment rate within the sate. Naturally, a person needs to be employed before they can be gainfully employed. There are probably other variables that might also be considered but these three are the focus of this analysis.

The data used came from three different sources which had each determined one of the three variables for this analysis (links are at the bottom of the page). The states were then assigned a rank (if the data source hadn’t ranked them) where 1 was the best and 50 was the worst. The three scores for each state were summed to create the Worker Hardship Index values in the chart.

StatesChart

The data used for the median household income was separated by political party (Democratic/Republican). The way that they determined if a state was classified as one or the other was by taking the party affiliation of the three highest ranking politicians (the governor and the two senators) for each state. Whichever party had two or more of the three positions became the state’s affiliation.

StatesBasicStats

The same political affiliations from the source were utilized to examine if political party influenced the results of states in the Worker Hardship Index. Some basic stats were tabulated (Table 1) where the mean score for democratic states was 79.0227 and the mean for republican states was 74.3929 (median was 76 and 73.5 respectively). Subsequently, the variance and normality were checked on the data and an ANOVA was run utilizing R.

  1. StatesAnova

An ANOVA is a statistical test that can be utilized to determine if there is likely a difference between different factors in a dataset. This ANOVA produced a p-value of 0.501 which means that the difference between the means and medians of republican and democratic states was not significant. In less technical words there is no statistical reason for us to believe that the political association of a state (as determined above) has any impact on the Worker Hardship Index score for that state.

Congratulations to the top 10 most gainfully employed states! You must be doing something right.

State                            Raw Score           Political               Rank

  1. Utah                                      37                           Republican         1
  2. Iowa                                       41                           Republican         2
  3. Wyoming                            41                           Republican         3
  4. Nebraska                            43                           Republican         4
  5. Virginia                                44                           Democratic         5
  6. North Dakota                  47                           Republican         6
  7. New Hampshire             49                           Democratic         7
  8. Kansas                                 51                           Republican         8
  9. Minnesota                        52                           Democratic         9
  10. Texas                                    52                           Republican         10
  11. Colorado                           53                           Democratic         11
  12. Indiana                                53                           Republican         12
  13. Idaho                                    55                           Republican         13
  14. Hawaii                                  58                           Democratic         14
  15. South Dakota                  61                           Republican         15
  16. Maryland                          64                           Democratic         16
  17. Michigan                           65                           Democratic         17
  18. Oklahoma                         65                           Republican         18
  19. Vermont                           66                           Democratic         19
  20. Wisconsin                        66                           Republican         20
  21. Delaware                          69                           Democratic         21
  22. Illinois                                 72                           Republican         22
  23. Ohio                                     72                           Republican         23
  24. Kentucky                           75                           Republican         24
  25. Massachusetts              75                           Democratic         25
  26. Connecticut                     76                           Democratic         26
  27. Washington                     76                           Democratic         27
  28. New Jersey                      80                           Democratic         28
  29. Missouri                            81                           Democratic         29
  30. Montana                           81                           Democratic         30
  31. Georgia                              84                           Republican         31
  32. Maine                                  84                           Republican         32
  33. Pennsylvania                  85                           Democratic         33
  34. Arkansas                           89                           Republican         34
  35. New York                         90                           Democratic         35
  36. Tennessee                       90                           Republican         36
  37. Rhode Island                 94                           Democratic         37
  38. Alaska                                95                           Republican         38
  39. Florida                               95                           Republican         39
  40. Alabama                           96                           Republican         40
  41. California                         97                           Democratic         41
  42. Mississippi                      97                           Republican         42
  43. North Carolina             100                         Republican         43
  44. Arizona                              101                         Republican         44
  45. Louisiana                          103                         Republican         45
  46. South Carolina             106                         Republican         46
  47. Nevada                              112                         Republican         47
  48. Oregon                              114                         Democratic         48
  49. West Virginia                 133                         Democratic         49
  50. New Mexico                   136.5                     Democratic         50

 

Links to data used:

http://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/state-unemployment-update.aspx

https://www.missourieconomy.org/indicators/cost_of_living/

http://www.cleveland.com/datacentral/index.ssf/2015/09/blue_states_red_states_rich_st.html