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.
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"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."
Here are MoneyRates.com's 10 worst states for earning a living, as well as each state's corresponding annual adjusted average income:
||Hawaii has an extremely high cost of living, coupled with a fairly high tax rate.|
||$29,159||Maine has a combination of relatively low wages and an above-average cost of living.|
|3. Montana||$29,496||Montana makes the list primarily because of the state's low average wages.|
||$29,772||California has many fiscal woes, high taxes, high unemployment and a high cost of living.|
||Vermont has a fairly low unemployment rate, but relatively high state taxes and cost of living.|
||Oregon has an above-average rate of unemployment, a high cost of living and a high state tax rate.|
|7. Rhode Island
||The cost of living, state taxes and the unemployment rate are all higher than average in Rhode Island.|
||The cost of living in Mississippi is cheaper than the average for the country as a whole, but the state's average wage levels are among the lowest in the country.|
|9. West Virginia
||$31,357||West Virginia has a low cost of living and very low wage levels.|
|10. South Carolina||$31,627||South Carolina suffers from a combination of below-average wages, above-average state taxes and above-average unemployment.|
Didn't see your state? Check out the 10 best states for making a living.