The following article was initially posted on Feb. 1, 2019 via MarketWatch.

By Jacob Passy

The U.S. economy added 304,000 jobs in January, but not all jobs are created equally

The U.S. added 304,000 jobs in January, as the country continued to enjoy the best labor market in decades.

But even as the economy gains jobs at a breakneck pace, not all workers will benefit equally from the booming jobs market. That depends where those people choose to live and work — and while populous states like New York and Texas may seem the most attractive for job-seekers, it’s Iowa that may be the best bet for people looking for work.

Iowa ranked as the best state for jobs in the U.S. in an analysis conducted by job-search site Zippia  based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

The ranking judged states on the following criteria: Improvement in unemployment over the past year, the state’s unemployment rate currently, how home prices compared with median income and how residents’ income improved year-over-year.

The Hawkeye State claimed the top spot largely because of its low cost of living. Iowa also came in first based on the home-to-income ratio, meaning household incomes stretched further there than in any other state despite the fact that it only came in 30th based on its median income.

“In Iowa, you don’t need a massive salary, because the salary you do get is enough for everything you need,” Zippia co-founder Chris Kolmar wrote in the report. Additionally, Iowa ranked in the Top 10 for its unemployment rate.

zippia

Photo courtesy of ZIPPIA and MarketWatch

Other Midwest and Plains states also ranked highly in Zippia’s report, including Minnesota (No. 2), Nebraska (No. 4), Oklahoma (No. 5) and Missouri (No. 6).

States in the South and Southwest fared worst in Zippia’s ranking. Louisiana came in as the worst state for jobs, followed by Arizona and Kentucky.

As for California and New York, while the two large states are home to major hubs for the technology and financial services sectors, the states only ranked 28th and 32nd respectively. “In large states, there are many jobs, but there is also a lot of job competition,” Kolmar wrote. “And while a job is great, a job that makes a lot of money compared to the cost of living is even better.”

Large swaths of the New Jersey and New York commuting belt have seen double-digit house price increases in recent years, for instance.

 

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