Sustainability Infrastructure

Looking for a job? Here are the 10 best states

Washington, Vermont and New Hampshire are the top states for prospective job seekers, according to a new list from WalletHub.
Washington state flag.

Story at a glance

  • Findings are based on 35 indicators of each state’s job market and economic environment.

  • West Virginia ranked last overall, closely followed by Kentucky and Mississippi.

  • Median annual income was the highest in Virginia, while Indiana boasted the highest monthly average starting salary.

A new WalletHub report ranks Washington as the best state in the country for job seekers, based on a range of indicators related to the state’s job market and economic environment. 

Washington was joined in the top five by Vermont, New Hampshire, Colorado and Minnesota.

As of October 2022, the U.S.’s overall unemployment rate sat at 3.7 percent, nearing pre-pandemic levels measured around 3.5 percent. 

Although the labor market began to cool in November, the number of job openings remains higher than it was before the pandemic and applicants have leverage to negotiate compensation and benefits, WalletHub authors wrote. 

To determine the best states for job seekers, researchers assessed 35 metrics including unemployment rate, median annual income and employee benefits.

Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Virginia, Connecticut and New Jersey rounded out the top 10 states on the list.

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In comparison, West Virginia ranked worst overall, and was preceded by Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Based on individual factors, New Hampshire ranked the highest for job opportunities, while California took the top spot for employment growth. Indiana had the highest monthly average starting salary, a total that was two times greater than that in Alaska, the state with the lowest average monthly salary. Median annual income, meanwhile, was highest in Virginia and lowest in West Virginia. 

Five states were tied for the lowest unemployment rate: New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, Minnesota and South Dakota. Job satisfaction was highest in Idaho, Montana and North Dakota. 

The report comes as data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show workers are quitting their jobs at higher rates than in the past. Fast food workers, waiters and chefs are quitting their jobs at the highest rates of U.S. employees in any industry.

The findings also come as big tech companies announce massive layoffs in the wake of stock losses and interest rate hikes. 

When it comes to job growth, experts anticipate certain fields will thrive more than others in the next decade. 

“​​The sectors in which the most growth is expected are healthcare, leisure and hospitality, advanced technology, data and information analysis, and alternative energy,” Marick F. Masters, a professor of business at Wayne State University in Michigan, told WalletHub. 

“Jobs that involve the provision of care and services for the elderly and infirm are like to grow considerably. Included among the specific jobs expecting growth are nurse practitioners, statisticians, health services managers, data analysts, and technicians working in alternative energy.”