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10 Toughest States for Earning a Living

Hawaii may not be heaven on earth after all

En español | Have you ever dreamed of picking up and moving to a beautiful island paradise — say, Hawaii? According to a MoneyRates.com study that identifies the best and worst states for making a living, that dream may resemble more of a nightmare when you compare Hawaii with other states regarding average wage, unemployment rate, state tax rate and cost of living.

See also: Did your city make the top 10 cities for job seekers list?

Personal finance website MoneyRates.com combined these four factors to form an adjusted average income for each state, a representation of how good or bad a living the average person in that state is making.

Though the U.S. job market is still weak, conditions vary greatly from state to state. Despite the unemployment rate reaching a two-year low at 8.8 percent, older workers, especially women, face a slight rise in joblessness. Some states offer job seekers a much better chance of earning a good living. Other states are at the opposite end of the spectrum and fall short when it comes to providing employment opportunities and the ability to earn a living wage.

Lisa Bedient paddles her surfboard while surfing on Kauai, Hawaii.

Lisa Bedient paddles her surfboard in Hawaii, a difficult state in which to earn a living. — Ben Moon/Aurora Photos

"Job seekers who consider relocating for work may want to investigate their options to ensure they're not simply trading one bad set of employment conditions for another," advises Richard Barrington, spokesman and personal finance expert for MoneyRates.com. "There are states you might want to avoid if you're thinking of moving to improve your career."

See the top 10 toughest states for earning a living. >>

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