Entitled “Best and Worst States to Work in the United States in 2022,” the study assessed wages, worker protections, unionization rights and new policies in face of climate change.
Based on this, the study found that the worst states for workers have a few things in common, including that they are clustered in the Southeast, with North Caroline scoring the lowest. The following three lowest-ranked states are Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama. The federal minimum wage has been mired at $7.25 an hour since 2009, prompting over half of US states to raise their own baseline wages in recent years.
While 30 states managed to raise minimum wage above the federal base over the past few years, none is high enough to cover a family’s basic living costs.
To give just one example, in the District of Columbia, which boasts highest minimum wage in the country ($16.10), a full-time worker’s pay only covers just 35.6% of household’s expenses.
According to Kaitlyn Henderson, the report’s author, one of the biggest drawbacks found in the assessment of labor policies in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, is low wages.
It is contradictory that in the United States, the world´s richest nation, many full-time workers are unable to feed their families, added Henderson.
In light of this, the study recommended raising the federal minimum wage, even to agricultural workers – who in many cases are paid below that threshold – and changing laws for those who earn from tips.
It also called for stronger protections for workers at the state and federal levels, such as paid family or medical leave, stronger equal pay laws, and protections for pregnant women and domestic workers.