TIME Companies

These Are the Largest Employers in Your State

The nation's largest retailer Wal-Mart easily tops the list by employing the most people in 20 states

It is essential for a state’s economy to have a diverse array of companies. Still, the impact each of the companies has on a state’s economy varies considerably.

In each state, there is one company that employs the most people. As a state’s largest employer, the company may have a disproportionately large impact on its economy as well as on the surrounding region. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from a range of sources in order to identify the largest employers in each state.

There is a large variation in the number of workers that the largest employers in each state employ. In Maine, the largest employer — Hannaford Bros. — employs only 8,000 workers. By contrast, in Texas, the largest employer — Wal-Mart — employs more than 156,000 workers.

Click here to see the largest employer in each state.

Wal-Mart is the only company to claim the top employer spot in more than one state. In fact, the nation’s largest retailer employed the most people in 20 states.

Educational and medical institutions also frequently top a state’s list of employers. The most common largest employer across the 50 states, after Wal-Mart, was the state’s university system. Educational services dominated statewide employment in 13 of the states. The largest employer in 11 states was health care and social assistance institutions.

The largest employer in each state also tended to serve and employ people from the surrounding region, if not across the nation. The total headcount for these large employers often far exceeded the statewide headcount.

To determine the largest employer in each state, 24/7 Wall St. looked at employment figures for nonprofits and private and publicly held companies based on company press releases, government data, business journals, and local media reports. We excluded military bases and other federal and state government employers, with the exception of state universities, which were included.

These are the largest employers in each state.

  • 46. Virginia

    Nearly 40,000 Virginia residents were employed by Wal-Mart at the end of last year, more than any other company in the state. State lawmakers turned down six proposals to raise Virginia’s minimum wage in the most recent legislative session. Wal-Mart, however, announced it would raise wages for 500,000 of its workers, a move that will likely impact a number of employees in Virginia.

  • 47. Washington

    Aeronautics defense company Boeing is Washington’s top employer with 80,241 employees in the state. Boeing has become known primarily for its commercial jets, but it is also one of the world’s largest arms producers. Microsoft, the state’s next largest employer, had a total statewide headcount of roughly half that of Boeing’s.

    ALSO READ: America’s Most Happy (and Miserable) States

  • 48. West Virginia

    West Virginia’s 44 Wal-Mart locations employed 10,855 state residents at the end of 2014, more than any other employer in the state. According to West Virginia’s MetroNews, Wal-Mart has been the state’s largest private employer since 1998.

  • 49. Wisconsin

    University of Wisconsin System is the largest employer in Wisconsin with more than 39,000 employees. Across all of its schools, the system serves roughly 180,000 students each year.

  • 50. Wyoming

    More than 4,000 Wyoming residents worked at a Wal-Mart at the end of last year. While this was a relatively low headcount compared to other states, no other company employed more people in the nation’s least populous state. The average wage of Wyoming Wal-Mart workers was $13.36 an hour as of November 2014.

    For the original list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

TIME Companies

These Are the Companies Profiting the Most From War

The big North American and European defense corporations have secured their place among the top 10 arms dealers

Worldwide military expenditure shrunk in 2013 for the second consecutive year, falling by 1.9% to $1.75 trillion. The 100 largest arms-producers sold a combined $402 billion worth of arms and military services in 2013, also down — for the third consecutive year.

However, not all countries are spending less. Military spending in North America and in Western and Central European countries has continued to decline, while other countries such as Brazil and Russia have increased their arms investments.

Despite the global drop, weapons producers generated massive profits from arms sales, and U.S. and European companies continued to dominate the top 10 global companies in terms of arms deals. Lockheed Martin was the global leader with $36 billion in arms sales in 2013, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

These are the companies profiting the most from war.

In fact, the top 10 companies tend to change very little. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Dr. Samuel Perlo-Freeman, senior researcher at the SIPRI arms and military expenditure program, explained that since the 2000s, the big North American and European defense corporations have secured their place among the top 10 arms dealers. Only the last two positions in the top 10 tend to see any major competition.

Yet, Russian companies have been growing rapidly, and if the trend continues, Perlo-Freeman said, Russian Almaz-Antey may breach the top 10 in the coming years. Further, although data on Chinese companies is currently unavailable, it is very likely several would be in the top 20 arms dealers.

U.S. companies still dominate the arms market by a large margin, with six among the top 10 arms sellers. In the top 100 arms-producing companies, 39 are based in the United States, and U.S. companies accounted for more than 58% of total arms sales among the top 100. U.S. company arms sales in the top 10 alone made up 35% of total arms sales among the top 100. By contrast, Western European companies, which make up the rest of the top 10 arms producers, accounted for just 28% of the total top 100 arms sales.

National governments, especially the U.S., are almost always the primary customers of these companies. Governments are often the only customers that can afford the extremely high costs of these products. An F-35 fighter jet purchased in 2018 from Lockheed Martin and delivered in 2020, for example, would cost roughly $100 million.

While cuts in U.S. military expenditure have created some uncertainty for U.S. arms market players, business is still very good in the country. According to Perlo-Freeman, several companies based in Europe, such as BEA and Finmeccanica, operate subsidiary holdings in the U.S. to access the U.S. market.

Even when a national government is not a customer of a domestic or international arms-producer, its leaders are involved in the transaction. “Top politicians, presidents, [and] prime ministers are very often directly involved in promoting major arms deals on behalf of their domestic industry,” Perlo-Freeman said. National leaders, who have an interest in who possesses some of the world’s most destructive instruments, often oversee the arms deals very closely. While these transactions are highly regulated, “for most countries, [politicians] are more interested in promoting the success of their industries,” Perlo-Freeman said.

To identify the 10 companies profiting most from war, 24/7 Wall St. examined the 10 companies with the most arms sales based on SIPRI’s “The SIPRI Top 100 Arms-Producing Companies, 2013.” Arms sales, including advisory, planes, vehicles, and weapons, were defined by sales to military customers as well as contracts to government militaries. We also considered the company’s 2013 total sales and profits, the total number of employees at the company, as well as nation-level military spending, all provided by SIPRI.

These are the companies profiting the most from war.

  • 7. Airbus Group

    > Arm sales 2013: $15.7 billion
    > Total sales 2013: $78.7 billion
    > 2013 profit: $2.0 billion
    > 2013 employment: 144,060

    Airbus Group, formerly known as EADS, reported revenue of 59.3 billion euros in 2013, up from 56.5 billion euros in the previous year. Arms sales comprised just 20% of the company’s total sales of nearly $78.7 billion in 2013. Airbus Group is a major producer of commercial aircrafts, as well as helicopters and defense and space products. The company was recently awarded a contract with the South Korean government to supply several light helicopters. Airbus Group spans multiple European countries and overall employed 144,060 workers as of 2013. Several current and former executives of the group are mired in a legal dispute over insider trading.

    ALSO READ: States With the Highest Gas Prices

  • 4. Raytheon

    > Arm sales 2013: $21.9 billion
    > Total sales 2013: $23.7 billion
    > 2013 profit: $2.0 billion
    > 2013 employment: 63,000

    Like other U.S. based defense companies, the vast majority of Raytheon’s business comes from the U.S. government. The company sold nearly $16.1 billion worth of arms to the U.S. government in 2014, or 70% of its total sales. This proportion has actually fallen each of last two years. Meanwhile, international sales accounted for 29% of Raytheon’s total 2014 sales, up from 27% in 2013. According to SIPRI, economic downturns and the resulting austerity measures, especially in the U.S., have prompted a number of companies to more aggressively seek international markets for military deals. These deals are subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations as well as other U.S. and foreign regulations.

    ALSO READ: The Best (and Worst) Paying Cities for Women

  • 3. BAE Systems

    > Arm sales 2013: $26.8 billion
    > Total sales 2013: $28.4 billion
    > 2013 profit: $275 million
    > 2013 employment: 84,600

    BAE Systems is one of the top 10 defense contractor suppliers to the U.S. with 31,500 employees in the U.S. in addition to 33,300 in the United Kingdom and another 19,800 in other parts of the globe including Saudi Arabia and Australia. About 36% of BAE’s sales came from its land and armaments business: development, ongoing support and maintenance of armored vehicles, artillery, naval guns, missile launchers and munitions. Total BAE sales grew 2% from 2012 to 2013 as the resumption of the company’s Typhoon combat aircraft deliveries more than made up for lower U.S. sales.

  • 2. Boeing

    > Arm sales 2013: $30.7 billion
    > Total sales 2013: $86.6 billion
    > 2013 profit: $4.6 billion
    > 2013 employment: 168,400

    Based in Chicago, Boeing is the largest aerospace company in the world. It had sales of $86.6 billion in 2013, the third highest compared to the 100 companies reviewed by SIPRI. Unlike most U.S. arms dealers, only 35% of Boeing’s sales came from arms deals, one of the lowest such proportions. Boeing is known primarily for its airplanes, with more than 10,000 commercial jetliners in use worldwide, or approximately 48% of the global fleet, according to the company. The company is also a major provider of satellites and satellite components to NASA. Boeing is a major employer in a number of states. Worldwide, the company had a total 2013 headcount of 168,400 — also the fourth highest number of employees among the 100 largest arms dealers.

    ALSO READ: The Best (and Worst) States for Business

  • 1. Lockheed Martin

    > Arm sales 2013: $35.5 billion
    > Total sales 2013: $45.5 billion
    > 2013 profit: $3.0 billion
    > 2013 employment: 115,000

    Lockheed Martin’s 2013 arms sales totaled $35.5 billion, more than any other company in the world. The company posted total sales of $45.5 billion in 2013, 78% of which were arms sales. In its most recent financial report, Lockheed Martin reported a slight increase in both sales and U.S. government deals, which accounted for 79% of its $45.6 billion net sales in fiscal 2014. The F-35 stealth fighter is the company’s most profitable program, generating more than half of all sales from the company’s aeronautics division in 2014. Lockheed Martin’s advanced development program, known as Skunk Works, has recently announced a working concept for a compact fusion reactor. The department claims it may have a prototype of the elusive nuclear energy device within five years.

    CORRECTION: Due to a data processing error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly reported total 2013 profits of $300 billion for BAE Systems. In fact, BAE Systems had a total profit of $275 million in 2013.

    For the original list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

These Are the 15 Cities With the Most High-Tech Jobs

The San Jose metro area in Calif. contributed 47.5% of economic output in 2013, the highest among large U.S. cities

The United States’ GDP of $16.3 trillion in 2014 was the highest in the world, due in large part to the strength of U.S. industries. However, all industries are not equal in terms of their contribution to economic output.

While the U.S. economy is among the world’s strongest, however, other countries continue to invest in education, technology, innovation, and other industries that invigorate economies, and the U.S. is falling behind. The percentage of U.S. workers employed in what the Brookings Institution calls “advanced industries” has fallen from 11.6% in 1980, to 8.7% in 2013. While this was a slight improvement from 8.4% in 2010, the need for a resurgence in the nation’s most important industries is more pressing than ever.

The Brookings Institution identified 50 advanced industries. To be considered advanced, an industry’s research and development spending must exceed $450 per employee, and the proportion of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) workers must be above the national average, or more than 21% of all employees. Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, explained that companies within these advanced industries “patent a lot, generate innovations that flow through the economy, export heavily,” and partly as a result, “pay well and tend to have long supply chains.”

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the metropolitan areas with the highest percentages of workers employed in advanced industries. The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area leads the nation with 30% of its workforce employed in such jobs. These are the cities with the most high-tech jobs.

Click here to see the cities with the most high tech jobs.

Advanced industries contribute considerably more to economic output than other industries, and these industries accounted for even larger shares of economic output in the 15 areas with the highest concentrations of advanced jobs. While advanced industries accounted for 17.7% of all U.S. economic output in 2013, they contributed more than the national share in all but one of the 15 metros on our list. In the San Jose metro area, advanced industries accounted for 47.5% of economic output, the highest such contribution among large U.S. cities.

Average wages among workers in these industries also tend to be far higher than in other types of jobs. Nationwide, the average wage for an advanced industry worker was $89,300 in 2013 versus the average for all workers of $50,130. Earnings among both cohorts were far higher in the 15 metro areas with dense concentrations of advanced industries. Average wages among advanced industry workers in eight of the 15 areas were well above $100,000 in 2013.

Advanced industry jobs’ wages also grow faster than all wages. In fact, average wages in advanced industries have risen nearly five times as fast as those in the overall economy since 1975.

According to Muro, the strength of advanced industries also lies in the range of educational requirements for workers. While wages tend to be far higher across the board in these industries, many of these jobs do not require especially high levels of education. Muro said, “as a whole, these 50 [advanced] industries are surprisingly accessible.” Brookings estimates that fully half of jobs available in the advanced industry do not require a bachelor’s degree.

The diversity of both workers and the types of advanced industries is essential for the prosperity of these areas. As Muro explained, such diversity creates “regional ecosystems,” in which “firms are surrounded by a web of relationships that allow them to compete efficiently.” Companies seek out these areas. “If regions didn’t matter, these industries would be distributed equally across the country,” Muro said.

In fact, advanced industries are clustered in specific locations. The West Coast, for example, where four of the most densely concentrated advanced industries are located, is a major hub for innovation and technology. According to Muro, the West Coast has developed both its advanced manufacturing and high-end services, computer system design software, and research and development activities. In addition, many of these cities have very high qualities of life and have become “centers for migration among millennials.”

To identify the 15 metro areas with the most high-tech jobs, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the share of workers in each of the country’s 100 largest metro areas employed in advanced industries from the Brookings Institution’s February 2015 report, “America’s Advanced Industries: What They Are, Where They Are, and Why They Matter.” The contribution to gross metropolitan output (GMP), an area’s most dominant industry within the advanced industry classification, average wages for advanced workers, and total workforce also came from the Brookings report. We also looked at educational attainment rates, poverty rates, and the percentage of area residents with health insurance from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey (ACS). Unemployment rates are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and are as of November 2014, the latest period for which non-preliminary data are available.

These are the cities with the most high-tech jobs.

  • 15. Salt Lake City, UT

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 11.1%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 16.5%
    > Annual avg. wage: $48,780
    > Largest advanced industry: Computer Systems Design and Related Services

    More than 11% of Salt Lake City’s workforce was employed in advanced industries in 2013, the 15th highest share among the nation’s 100 largest metro areas. According to the Brookings Institution, advanced industries are characterized by “deep involvement with technology research and development and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) workers.” The area is one of three urban regions with densely concentrated advanced industries in Utah, a testament to the state’s diversified high-tech economy. The average venture capital deal was worth more than $9 million in the state in 2013, the seventh highest among states. In Salt Lake City, venture capital tech start-up investments totalled $275 million during the first nine months of last year, one of the largest such investments compared to other metro areas, according to the Associated Press. Investment in technology is a major contributor to the prosperity of advanced industries.

    ALSO READ: 10 Retailers Closing the Most Stores

  • 14. Ogden-Clearfield, UT

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 11.3%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 20.5%
    > Annual avg. wage: $40,180
    > Largest advanced industry: Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing

    Most of Ogden-Clearfield residents working in advanced industries were employed in motor vehicle parts manufacturing. Aerospace product manufacturing was a close second, employing 3,570 area residents. Activity in the region’s advanced industries accounted for 20.5% of the area’s total economic output in 2013, one of the highest contributions. However, the presence of such industries did not raise wages as much as in other large metro areas. The overall average wage in the Ogden area was $40,180 in 2013, nearly the lowest compared to other large metro areas. Among advanced industry workers, the average wage was $60,580. This was also one of the lowest wages compared to wages among advanced industry workers in other cities, although it was higher than the national average wage of $50,130.

  • 13. Raleigh, NC

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 11.7%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 23.4%
    > Annual avg. wage: $51,630
    > Largest advanced industry: Computer Systems Design and Related Services

    As in most areas with high concentrations of advanced industries, Raleigh metro area residents were very well educated. Nearly 44% of adults in the area had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2013, the sixth highest proportion among large metro areas. The presence of large universities nearby such as Duke University, North Carolina State, and the University of North Carolina helped raise educational attainment rates and likely contributed to the high density of advanced industries. The largest advanced industry was computer systems design and related services, with 14,780 employees in 2013. From 2010 to 2013, employment in the area’s advanced industries grew at an annualized rate of 5.2%, the 16th fastest growth rate and nearly double the growth rate for the nation. Raleigh’s unemployment rate of 4.3% in November was also one of the lowest rates among large metro areas. The regional growth is good news for the nation as a whole. At the beginning of the year, President Barack Obama called Raleigh the newest U.S. high-tech manufacturing hub.

  • 12. Provo-Orem, UT

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 12.0%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 23.2%
    > Annual avg. wage: $39,940
    > Largest advanced industry: Computer Systems Design and Related Services

    Over the first nine months of 2014, there were nine venture capital tech startup investments in the Provo metro worth a total of $462 million, according to the Associated Press. The level of investments in the area, as in other regions in Utah, is beginning to rival the levels in traditionally dominant tech centers such as Silicon Valley and the Boston region. The contribution to total economic output from the area’s advanced industries grew at an annualized rate of 7.2% between 2010 and 2013, nearly twice the comparable national growth rate, and the 12th fastest among large metro areas. Similarly, employment in advanced industry grew 5.9% per year, the 13th fastest among large metro areas. The unemployment rate of 3.0% in November was nearly the lowest nationwide. While the regional economy is very strong, wages remain relatively low. The average wage among all residents was less than $40,000 in 2013, nearly the lowest. The average wage among advanced industry workers was $70,990, also lower than wages of such workers in other areas.

  • 11. Austin-Round Rock, TX

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 12.1%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 24.9%
    > Annual avg. wage: $53,510
    > Largest advanced industry: Computer Systems Design and Related Services

    The economic output from advanced industries in the Austin-Round Rock metro area has grown at a healthy pace since at least the 1980s. Between 1980 and 2013, the industry’s economic output grew at an annualized rate of 9.9%, three times the comparable national growth rate and the highest rate among large metro areas. The economic output of all industries in the Austin area grew at an annualized rate of 5.7% between 1980 and 2013, also the fastest such growth rate among all large metros. Computer systems design and relatedservices employed 21,690 area residents in 2013, the most compared to other types of advanced industries. Companies operating in these fields had a large pool of well educated residents in the area. More than 41% of area adults had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2013, the eighth highest attainment rate. The region is also home to the University of Austin, a large research institution and a major employer, with 21,000 employees.

  • 10. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 12.3%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 21.2%
    > Annual avg. wage: $58,850
    > Largest advanced industry: Scientific Research and Development Services

    In 2013, 12.3% of the workforce in the San Diego-Carlsbad metro area was employed in advanced industries, the 10th highest share among large metro areas. By contrast, 8.7% of the nation’s workforce was employed in such industries. The largest advanced industry in the area is involved with scientific research and development services. The area is home to the University of California San Diego, one of the area’s largest employers and a major research institution. Communications firm, Qualcomm, is headquartered in San Diego and is also among the region’s largest employers. Like most metro areas with high shares of advanced jobs, San Diego workers are on the whole relatively well compensated. The average wage was $58,850 in 2013, 12th highest among large metro areas and well above the average national wage of $50,130 that year.

  • 9. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 12.8%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 38.4%
    > Annual avg. wage: $63,880
    > Largest advanced industry: Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services

    The average wage among advanced industry workers in the Houston metro area was $121,220 in 2013, fourth highest compared to their peers in other large metro areas. The high wages in the industry helped raise the average overall annual earnings to nearly $64,000, seventh highest among large metro areas. Advanced industries tend to contribute more to economic output than other industries, and this was especially true in the Houston area. Advanced industries accounted for 38.4% of total GMP in 2013, the third highest advanced industry contribution among large metro areas. The largest industry within the advanced sector was architectural, engineering and other services followed by oil and gas extraction. The University of Texas presides in Houston, as well as one of Lockheed Martin’s engineering facilities. Both are among the region’s largest employers.

    ALSO READ: The Best (and Worst) Paying Cities for Women

  • 8. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 13.3%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 22.8%
    > Annual avg. wage: $67,370
    > Largest advanced industry: Computer Systems Design and Related Services

    As in other cities with prominent advanced industries, Boston metro area residents are relatively well educated. Nearly 45% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2013, the fifth highest share among large metro areas. Perhaps as a result, residents were also well paid. The average wage among all workers was $67,370 in 2013, the sixth highest average wage reviewed. Higher earnings among advanced industry workers helped raise the average wage as well as the percentage of households with especially high incomes. Ten percent of area households had incomes of at least $200,000 in 2013, the sixth highest share among large metro areas and twice the national proportion. Like Massachusetts as a whole, Boston area residents also had exceptionally high health insurance coverage. Just 4.2% of residents did not have health insurance in 2013, nearly the lowest among large metro areas.

  • 7. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 13.4%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 21.7%
    > Annual avg. wage: $47,350
    > Largest advanced industry: Audio and Video Equipment Manufacturing

    Unlike most areas with strong advanced industries, residents of the Palm Bay metro area do not have especially high wages. The average wage among all residents was $47,350 in 2013, one of only five top 15 metro areas where wages were lower than the national figure of $50,130. While many of the areas with the most advanced jobs reported especially high annual GMP growth rates from 2010 to 2013, the Palm Bay metro area reported a decline in economic output of 1.5% over that period, nearly the worst decline. Audio and video equipment manufacturing companies were the largest advanced industry employers in the area. Advanced industries also contributed largely to economic output in 2013, accounting for nearly 22%.

  • 6. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 13.7%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 19.9%
    > Annual avg. wage: $68,370
    > Largest advanced industry: Computer Systems Design and Related Services

    No large metro area had a higher percentage of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree than the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria region, where nearly 49% of adults held such a degree as of 2013. Strong educational attainment likely contributed to the strong advanced industry presence. Computer systems and design companies were the most prominent advanced employers, employing nearly 200,000 people in the area in 2013, one of the higher nominal figures. The prevalence of high-paying advanced industry jobs helped raise incomes for all residents. The average wage for all residents of nearly $70,000 in 2013 was nearly the highest nationwide and considerably higher than the national figure of $50,130. Nearly all the areas with dense concentrations of advanced industry jobs have at least some manufacturing presence. In the Washington metro area, however, advanced industry activity is nearly all service-related.

  • 5. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 14.0%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 24.7%
    > Annual avg. wage: $80,960
    > Largest advanced industry: Computer Systems Design and Related Services

    The San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward area is one of three top California metros for advanced industry presence. In 2013, 14% of the San Francisco metro area’s workforce was employed in research and development and STEM worker intensive professions, the fifth highest share among large metro areas. Area residents in such positions had high wages, even among advanced industry workers in other areas. The average wage among advanced industry workers in the area was $157,700 in 2013, second only to the comparable figure in the San Jose metro area. The presence of the University of California, which is one of the largest employers in the Bay Area as well as a contributor to the area’s well-educated population, also accounts in part for the advanced industries. More than 45% of area adults had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2013, the fourth highest proportion among large metro areas. By contrast, less than 30% of adults nationwide were college educated.

    ALSO READ: 10 Disappearing Middle Class Jobs

  • 4. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 14.8%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 24.8%
    > Annual avg. wage: $53,300
    > Largest advanced industry: Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing

    Unlike nearly all of the nation’s densest concentrations of advanced industry activity, the Detroit metro area is located east of the Mississippi. And while most other areas reviewed tended to have especially strong computer and engineering-related industries, the Detroit area’s advanced industry is found primarily in motor vehicle parts manufacturing. Advanced industries accounted for nearly one-quarter of all of the region’s economic output in 2013, the ninth highest contribution from advanced industries among large metro areas. While advanced industries tend to require higher levels of education, the auto industry is frequently an exception. Detroit metro area adults were less likely than most Americans to have at least a bachelor’s degree in 2013. Yet, the area still benefited from the presence and growth of advanced industry jobs. Advanced industry jobs in Detroit grew at an annual average rate of 7.4% between 2010 and 2013, the third fastest growth rate among large metro areas. Economic output from advanced industries in the area grew 7.0% annually, the 13th fastest such growth rate among large metros.

  • 3. Wichita, KS

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 15.5%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 27.4%
    > Annual avg. wage: $44,410
    > Largest advanced industry: Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing

    Most of the areas with high concentrations of advanced jobs have a very diverse array of advanced industry jobs. However, Wichita is exceptional as its economy is almost exclusively dependent on the aerospace product and parts manufacturing sector. The sub-industry had nearly 30,000 employees in the area, while the second, third, fourth, and fifth largest sub-industries classified as advanced each had between just 1,000 and 3,000 employees. Advanced industry jobs in Wichita have grown and continue to contribute substantially to economic output. The industry’s average wage of less than $74,000 in 2013, however, was lower than the national wage figure for advanced industries.

    ALSO READ: Cities With the Highest (and Lowest) Unemployment Rates

  • 2. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 16.0%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 32.6%
    > Annual avg. wage: $63,180
    > Largest advanced industry: Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing

    Like a number of other metro areas with densely concentrated advanced industries, the Seattle region is on the West Coast, a hotbed for what the Brookings Institution calls “regional economic ecosystems.” These areas tend to attract innovative businesses and young, educated Americans, among other boons for local economies. Like the Wichita area, Seattle’s advanced industries are dominated by aerospace product and part manufacturing. However, other firms in advanced industries, such as software publishers and computer systemsdesign companies are also very prominent. Each sub-industry employs tens of thousands of workers in the region. The advanced industries accounted for nearly a third of all economic output in the area, a higher share than in all but a handful of metro areas.

  • 1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

    > Advanced industries, share of employment: 30.0%
    > Advanced industries, share of output: 47.5%
    > Annual avg. wage: $101,640
    > Largest advanced industry: Computer Systems Design and Related Services

    In 2013, 30% of San Jose metro area workers were employed in advanced industry jobs, by far the highest among all large metro areas and more than three times the national share of 8.7%. The region is home to Silicon Valley, a technology sector powerhouse, both in terms of output and wages. The computer systems design and semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing industries were the first and second largest advanced industries in the area. Activity in these industries is driving the considerable labor growth rates in the region. Advanced industry employment grew at an annualized rate of 4.1% between 2010 and 2013, well above the comparable national rate of 2.7%. The area’s total employment grew by 3.6% each year over that period as well, the fourth fastest such rate among large metro areas. Workers were also exceptionally well paid. The average annual wage in 2013 for all area workers and for those employed in advanced industries was $101,640 and $183,950, respectively, both by far the highest nationwide.

    For the original list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

These Are the American Cities With the Highest (and Lowest) Unemployment

More than 23% of the Yuma metro area’s workforce was unemployed in Nov. 2014

Approximately 8.7 million U.S. jobs were lost during the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009. While all those jobs have been recovered, the nation’s unemployment rate remains above the level at the onset of the Recession and the recovery has not been consistent across the nation.

24/7 Wall St. examined the 25 lowest and 25 highest unemployment rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lincoln, Nebraska led the nation with an unemployment rate of just 2.1% in November, while the Yuma, Arizona metro area had the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 23.1%.

The Great Recession was accompanied by a steep decline in housing prices across the country. According to Martin Kohli, chief regional economist at the BLS, the best job markets weathered the housing crisis relatively well, while the areas with the highest unemployment rates were among the hardest hit when the bubble burst.

Click here to see the metro areas with the lowest unemployment rates

Click here to see the metro areas with the highest unemployment rates

In the metro areas with the lowest unemployment rates, housing prices fared better than the national average. On the other hand, median home prices in all of the worst job markets declined at a greater rate. In 10 of the 25 worst job markets, median home prices have fallen by at least 50% from their peak.

Many residents in the areas with struggling housing markets are unable to move away because of their home, which can contribute to a higher unemployment rates. According to Kohli, when homes are worth less than than the mortgage, homeowners cannot look for work in other areas because they cannot afford to sell their home.

In addition to resilient housing markets, residents in many of the best job markets are well educated. While 29.6% of American adults had completed at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, the rate was higher in a majority of the cities with lowest unemployment rates.

A major factor contributing to the high educational attainment rates is the presence of a major university. Thirteen of the metro areas with the lowest unemployment rates were also home to at least one large university. Kohli observed these universities contribute to higher educational attainment rates and are large employers in their own right.

Geographical location was also a distinguishing feature among the best and worst metro area job markets. Many of the areas with the lowest unemployment rates were clustered around the midwest and central United States, sites of the recent oil and gas development. The percentage of the workforce employed in the agricultural, forestry, fishing, and hunting, and mining industry exceeded the national share of 2.0% in 15 of the 25 best job markets.

According to Kohli, while the oil and fracking boom has subsided somewhat, the impact from the growth in the oil industry had a widespread effect. “Many areas in the country saw substantial job growth related to energy exploration,” he said, “and that generated additional demand for hotels and lodging services and a variety of other things in these areas.”

Interestingly, the metro areas with the worst job markets also had disproportionately high percentages of workers employed in the agricultural, forestry, fishing, and hunting, and mining industry. However, while the workers in many of the best job markets were far more likely to work in mining, the workers in some of the worst job markets, especially in inland California, were far more likely to be employed in agricultural positions, Kohli explained.

Fourteen of the 25 metro areas with the highest unemployment rates were located in inland California or Arizona, where there are high concentrations of farm jobs. However, the region’s ongoing severe drought conditions have taken a heavy toll on area economies. Most farming operations require enormous quantities of water, and when drought pervades agricultural output suffers and with it jobs.

To identify the best and worst job markets in the United States, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) with the highest and lowest unemployment rates as of November 2014 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Labor force changes also came from the BLS. Median household incomes, poverty rates, educational attainment rates, the percentage of households receiving SNAP benefits (food stamps), and the proportions of households earning less than $10,000 and more than $200,000 annually all came from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) and are for 2013, the latest period available. Workforce composition also came from the ACS. Quarterly median home prices since 2004 came from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

These are the cities with the highest (and lowest) unemployment rates.

  • 24. Madison, WI

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.4%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 13.4%
    > 2013 median household income: $59,466
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 42.4%

    In November 2014, 3.4% of Madison Wisconsin’s workforce was unemployed, tied for the 24th lowest rate nationwide. By contrast, the national unemployment rate in November was 5.8%. As in many other metro areas with relatively low unemployment rates, Madison residents are well educated. More than 42% of adults in the area held at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, one of the higher rates compared with other metro areas.

    ALSO READ: The States Where the Rich are Getting Richer

  • 24. Dubuque, IA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.4%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 13.7%
    > 2013 median household income: $51,735
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 26.6%

    Strategically located at the junction of three states — Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin — Dubuque serves as a commercial, industrial, cultural, and educational hub. Like most U.S. metro areas, and strong metro job markets in particular, Dubuque’s largest employers are in the education and health sectors: the community school district, Mercy Medical Center, the University of Wisconsin Platteville, and Finley Hospital. Dubuque is also home to a major John Deere manufacturing plant and a large IBM facility. Dubuque’s 3.4% unemployment rate in November improved 0.2 percentage points from one year earlier.

  • 24. Rapid City, SD

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.4%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 14.5%
    > 2013 median household income: $48,641
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 24.5%

    A typical household in Rapid City earned less than $49,000 in 2013, lower than the national median household income of $52,250. However, the area’s job market is very strong, with an unemployment rate of just 3.4% in November. The low unemployment rate is due in large part to jobs generated by the regional oil boom. In 2013, 4.6% of Rapid City’s working population was employed in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting and mining, one of the highest rates and more than twice the comparable national rate of 2.0%. As Kohli explained, regional oil booms can boost job growth in a variety of sectors in addition to the mining industry.

    ALSO READ: The Best (and Worst) States for Business

  • 24. Morgantown, WV

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.4%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 19.2%
    > 2013 median household income: $47,051
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 32.5%

    Morgantown, the county seat of Monongalia County, had a modest 0.1 percentage point improvement in its unemployment rate from November 2013, as its labor force grew 2.0% over the same period. More than 31% of workers were employed in the education and health services industry, the highest share among industries in the area and among the higher such proportions nationwide. The concentration in the sector was led by Ruby Memorial Hospital and the Ruby Day Surgery Center.

  • 24. Burlington-South Burlington, VT

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.4%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 10.5%
    > 2013 median household income: $62,022
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 43.3%

    The strong job market in the Burlington-South Burlington metro area may have helped raise the health insurance coverage rate. Just 6.2% of Burlington area residents did not have health insurance in 2013, less than half the comparable national rate and one of the lowest figures among all metro areas. The Burlington-South Burlington metro area was home to the University of Vermont, which contributed to relatively high educational attainment rates and stimulated the region’s economy.

  • 21. State College, PA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.3%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 19.8%
    > 2013 median household income: $53,207
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 41.7%

    Unlike most metro areas with the lowest unemployment rates, nearly one in five residents in the State College area lived in poverty in 2013, one of the highest poverty rates nationwide. The healthy economy may also have helped keep State College safe. There were 92.7 violent crimes reported per 100,000 people in the area in 2013, one of the lowest crime rates.

    ALSO READ: America’s Happiest (and Most Miserable) States

  • 21. Amarillo, TX

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.3%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 16.0%
    > 2013 median household income: $49,207
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 23.4%

    Amarillo’s unemployment rate improved by 0.9 percentage points from November 2013 to November 2014, aided by a one percentage point drop in the city’s labor force. Government is a major employer in the city of Amarillo, which makes up a large portion of the metro area, through the local school district and city government. The city is also the home to Pantex, a key Department of Defense supplier, and to a major Tyson Foods facility.

  • 21. St. Cloud, MN

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.3%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 13.6%
    > 2013 median household income: $55,513
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 24.0%

    Along with a strong job market, St. Cloud residents are better-off financially than most Americans. The metro area’s median household income of $55,513 in 2013 was higher than the national figure of $52,250. Most metro areas with low unemployment rates weathered the housing crisis considerably better than most regions. However, in St. Cloud, median home prices fell 18.5% from the 2007 peak to the first quarter of last year, worse than the national home price drop during that time of 15.9%.

    ALSO READ: The Worst Paying Jobs for Women

  • 17. Fort Collins, CO

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.2%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 14.3%
    > 2013 median household income: $59,052
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 43.3%

    Fort Collins’s unemployment rate dropped 1.8 percentage points from November 2013, despite a 2.2 percentage point increase in the city’s labor force over the same period. The city is home to Colorado State University as well as many high tech companies, including Hewlett Packard, Intel, and AMD among others.

  • 17. Boulder, CO

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.2%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 13.9%
    > 2013 median household income: $71,604
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 58.5%

    Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, 41 miles northwest of Denver. Home to the main campus of the University of Colorado, 58.5% of adults in the Boulder metro area had at least a bachelor’s degree, the highest percentage of any U.S. metro area and nearly twice the national figure. A relatively high 9.2% of households had annual incomes of $200,000 or more in 2013, ninth highest in the country.

    ALSO READ: States Smoking the Most Smuggled Cigarettes

  • 17. Idaho Falls, ID

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.2%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 11.2%
    > 2013 median household income: $50,439
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 24.5%

    The November unemployment rate in most metro areas with strong job markets had not changed substantially from the previous year. The unemployment rate of 3.2% in Idaho Falls, however, improved 1.4 percentage points from the year before, slightly faster than the comparable national improvement. In addition, while most of the strongest job markets had high proportions of very wealthy households, 1.5% of households in Idaho Falls earned at least $200,000 in 2013, one of the lowest proportions nationwide.

  • 17. Salt Lake City, UT

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.2%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 12.4%
    > 2013 median household income: $61,520
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 31.2%

    As the capital of Utah, it is not surprising that state government heads the metro area list of largest employers in the Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City’s unemployment rate dropped 0.4 percentage points from November 2013 to November 2014, as its labor force contracted 0.5 percentage points. The metro area’s household income of $61,520 was roughly $9,000 higher than the national median income of $52,250 in 2013. Areas with low unemployment rates generally have relatively low violent crime rates. However, the violent crime rate in Salt Lake City was 356.6 per 100,000 residents, not much lower than the national rate of 367.9 violent crimes per 100,000 people.

    ALSO READ: The 10 Richest U.S. Presidents

  • 16. Billings, MT

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.1%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 12.9%
    > 2013 median household income: $52,583
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 26.8%

    Billings is less than a half day drive to the Bakken Formation, the source of the regional oil boom. Nearly 4.0% of Billings’ workforce is employed in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, and mining industry, one of the higher shares nationwide. Partly as a result of the strong economy and job market in the area, median home prices remained roughly unchanged since 2007. By contrast, home prices across the country fell 15.9% over a similar period.

  • 14. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.0%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 10.3%
    > 2013 median household income: $67,194
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 39.3%

    The Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metro area straddles the Mississippi River, but its major employers are not river-based and significantly diversified. Concentrations of government jobs can be found in St. Paul, the capital of Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic and Target stores are also major employers in the area. The area’s unemployment rate dropped 1.1 percentage points in the year ending November 2014, even though the labor force grew 0.9 percentage points over that time.

  • 14. Provo-Orem, UT

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 3.0%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 13.7%
    > 2013 median household income: $60,051
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 37.7%

    In addition to an unemployment rate of just 3.0%, Provo-Orem metro area residents had relatively high incomes and benefited from an exceptionally low violent crime rate. A typical household earned more than $60,000 in 2013, one of the highest median household incomes nationwide. There were also 70.2 violent crimes reported per 100,000 area residents in 2013, a lower rate than in all but five other metro areas reviewed.

  • 13. Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 2.9%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 12.7%
    > 2013 median household income: $55,382
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 33.4%

    Omaha-Council Bluffs may be the home of Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, but his company, Berkshire-Hathaway, does not appear on the city’s list of top 100 employers. Instead, the list is led by Offutt Air Force Base, with health care employers taking four of the next five slots. The fifth is the local public school system as nearly one-quarter of Omaha-Council Bluffs’ workforce is employed by the educational services and health care industry. The area’s median household income was just $55,382, versus the national median of $52,250.

    ALSO READ: The Cities Where No One Wants to Drive

  • 12. Odessa, TX

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 2.8%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 14.6%
    > 2013 median household income: $55,710
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 13.8%

    The Odessa metro area is one of just 13 metro areas in the country where the unemployment rate was less than 3.0% this past November. Nearly 13% of the area’s workforce was employed in the agriculture, forestry, and mining industry, many times the national share of 2.0% in these jobs and one of the highest shares among metro areas. While jobs are readily available compared to other areas, many employment opportunities likely do not require very much education. Less than 14% of area adults held at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, nearly the lowest rate nationwide and less than half the comparable national educational attainment rate of nearly 30%. Odessa also had a reported violent crime rate of more than 800 incidents per 100,000 people, one of the highest in the country.

  • 11. Sioux Falls, SD

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 2.7%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 9.0%
    > 2013 median household income: $55,952
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 32.3%

    Like several other metro areas with especially strong job markets, Sioux Falls is among the areas that thrived as a result of the regional oil boom. Large drilling sites are not far from the metro area. However, the financial sector employed more than 13% of the workforce, more than twice the share nationwide and third highest among all metro areas. Sioux Falls’ economic growth has been primarily due to its location along major north-south and east-west interstate highways, according to The Economist.

    ALSO READ: Cities Where Crime is Plummeting

  • 8. Rochester, MN

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 2.6%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 7.9%
    > 2013 median household income: $62,645
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 35.3%

    The Rochester metro area had a poverty rate of 7.9% in 2013, nearly the lowest rate nationwide. Largely due to Rochester’s unemployment rate of just 2.6%, the median household income was $62,645 in 2013, one of the higher figures in the nation. In addition, like most strong job markets, more than one-third of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, also one of the higher proportions.

  • 8. Grand Forks, ND-MN

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 2.6%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 15.4%
    > 2013 median household income: $50,891
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 27.4%

    Education and health services are a major reason for low unemployment in Grand Forks, employing a large share of the workforce. The metro area is also home to Grand Forks Air Force Base, a driver for the local economy, such as the retail trade sector, which employs about 13.6% of the workforce. Grand Forks’ unemployment rate improved 0.4 percentage points from November 2013 to November 2014. While Grand Forks shed payroll jobs during the recession, it had recovered all those jobs and more since the recession ended.

    ALSO READ: Companies Cutting the Most Jobs

  • 8. Iowa City, IA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 2.6%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 15.6%
    > 2013 median household income: $52,220
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 48.6%

    Iowa City’s unemployment rate of 2.6% improved by 0.1 percentage points from a year ago, even though the region’s labor force jumped 3.3% over the same period. Iowa City is the home of the ACT testing service, which provides standardized tests for college-bound high schoolers, and is the seventh largest employer in the region. The University of Iowa is the area’s largest employer, along with related health care organizations such as the university’s hospital. Education and health-related industries employed 41% of Iowa City’s workforce, the second highest such share in the country, topped only by Ithaca, NY.

  • 5. Logan, UT-ID

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 2.5%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 14.6%
    > 2013 median household income: $47,377
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 35.9%

    The Logan metro area’s labor force grew 1.6% over the year through November of last year, and the unemployment rate dropped slightly over that period. The area is home to Utah State University, which is also a major employer in the region. In addition, like many other metro areas with strong job markets, a major source of oil and natural gas is located nearby.

    ALSO READ: 10 States With the Worst Taxes for the Average American

  • 5. Ames, IA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 2.5%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 23.5%
    > 2013 median household income: $50,279
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 48.2%

    Ames residents are among the best educated — as measured by high school graduation rate — of all metro areas. At the same time, the area is one of only a few strong job markets with a median household income lower than the national median. As with most of the top 28 regions, the Ames metro area’s education, health and social service industry employed a larger proportion of the workforce than the national share in 2013 — 38% compared with 23%, nationally. Of the area’s top eight employers, six are in those fields, led by Iowa State University, Mary Greeley Medical Center, and McFarland Clinic.

  • 5. Bismarck, ND

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 2.5%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 8.3%
    > 2013 median household income: $64,626
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 30.5%

    The unemployment rate in Bismarck rose by 0.3 percentage points from November 2013 to November 2014. The only other strong metro area job market to show an increase was the Burlington metro area. Bismarck’s labor force grew by 3.9% during that time. The area boasted the 21st highest household income of all metros, at $64,626, nearly 24% higher than the national average of $52,250 in 2013. Also, just 5.6% of households used food stamp benefits, the fourth lowest rate among all metro areas.

  • 4. Midland, TX

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 2.3%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 9.3%
    > 2013 median household income: $71,442
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 27.3%

    Located at the heart of the regional oil boom, Midland residents have enjoyed sustained economic growth for nearly a decade. Nearly 19% of the area’s workforce was employed in the agriculture, forestry and mining industry, the third highest share compared to other metro areas. Housing prices in the area were at their peak at the beginning of last year, while most other metro area housing markets were still far behind 2007 levels. The median household income of $71,442 in 2013 was also nearly the highest nationwide. Despite the strong job market and healthy economy, nearly 24% of residents did not have health insurance in 2013, one of the highest rates in the country.

    ALSO READ: Cities Where Crime is Soaring

  • 2. Mankato-North Mankato, MN

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 2.2%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 16.7%
    > 2013 median household income: $53,047
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 28.8%

    The Mankato metro area is located along where the Minnesota River meets the Blue Earth River in the southern third of the state. As a college town — hosting a major campus of the University of Minnesota — Mankato’s economy is focused on education and healthcare. The area’s unemployment rate dropped a full percentage point from November 2013 to November 2014 even as its labor force grew 2.7%. In addition to a low unemployment rate, only 6.6% of the area’s population did not have health insurance in 2013, the 13th lowest rate in the country.

  • 2. Fargo, ND-MN

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 2.2%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 13.9%
    > 2013 median household income: $51,961
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 35.3%

    Just 2.2% of Fargo’s workforce was unemployed in November, down slightly from the year before. The region’s labor force also grew 3.8% over that period, among the fastest growth rates nationwide. As in other metro areas in and around North Dakota, Fargo’s healthy economy is largely due to the regional oil and natural gas boom.

  • 1. Lincoln, NE

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 2.1%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 15.5%
    > 2013 median household income: $52,300
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 36.3%

    Lincoln boasts the lowest unemployment rate of any metro area in the country, down 0.9 percentage points from one year earlier when it had the seventh lowest unemployment rate of all metro areas. Lincoln’s improvement came despite a 2.5% increase in the labor force over the same period. Government — not counting education — employs the second-largest share of the workforce in Lincoln, the capital of Nebraska. The area’s education sector, including the University of Nebraska, is also a major driver of employment in the area. B&R Stores, an 18-unit food store chain, is the area’s largest private employer.

    Click here to see the metro areas with the highest unemployment rates

  • 24. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.0%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 18.2%
    > 2013 median household income: $53,220
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 20.1%

    While less than 6.0% of the nation’s workforce was unemployed in November, 8.0% of the Riverside-San Bernardino metro area’s workforce was out of work, tied for the 24th highest unemployment rate compared with all metro areas. As in other weak job markets, and particularly those in California, the Riverside area was hit especially hard by the housing crisis. As of the first quarter of last year, home values had fallen 51.4% from their peak in 2007. The national decline in median home prices during that time was less than 16%.

  • 24. Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.0%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 21.2%
    > 2013 median household income: $39,058
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 11.3%

    More than one in five workers in the Lake Havasu City-Kingman metro area was employed in the arts, entertainment, recreation and accommodation and food services industry, the fourth highest share compared to other metro areas and more than twice the share nationally. The high concentration of these traditionally low-paying jobs is due in part to the area’s reliance on tourism. A typical household earned less than $40,000 in 2013, one of the lowest median household incomes compared with other U.S. metro areas.

    ALSO READ: The Richest County in Each State

  • 22. Danville, IL

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.1%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 19.3%
    > 2013 median household income: $45,089
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 13.9%

    While Danville had one of the highest unemployment rates among metropolitan areas as of November, it also recorded the fourth best yearly improvement in unemployment, with its unemployment rate dropping 4.1 percentage points from November 2013. Danville faces a significant education gap, with just 86.2% of its adult residents holding a high school diploma or higher and just 13.9% holding at least a bachelor’s degree, both among the lowest educational attainment rates compared to all metro areas.

  • 22. Rockford, IL

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.1%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 15.5%
    > 2013 median household income: $48,027
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 21.0%

    Rockford’s unemployment rate improved 3.3 percentage points from November 2013 to November 2014, fifth best of all metropolitan areas. Very few socioeconomic measures seem to be positive for Rockford. Its violent crime rate of 711.1 incidents per 100,000 residents was in the bottom quintile of all metro areas. Nearly 23% of Rockford’s workforce was employed by the manufacturing industry, one of the highest such proportions in the nation. Employment in the industry fell dramatically in 2009 and 2010, and has made only a modest recovery since.

    ALSO READ: The Best States to Grow Old In

  • 22. Redding, CA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.1%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 20.1%
    > 2013 median household income: $40,332
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 17.3%

    Just slightly over one of six Redding adults had a bachelor’s degree or higher as of 2013 — 318th out of 358 metros. The residents’ low educational attainment may have contributed to the area’s high unemployment rate. At the same time, the median household income was $40,332, 317th out of 358 metro areas. In 2013, 16.5% of residents did not have health insurance.

  • 19. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.2%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 34.3%
    > 2013 median household income: $35,098
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 16.2%

    Like many metro areas with relatively high unemployment rate, McAllen faces the challenge of low educational attainment. Just 61.5% of McAllen area residents had completed at least high school, the lowest rate of any of the 358 metro areas. Only 16.2% of residents had a bachelor’s degree or higher as of 2013, also one of the worst rates. The weak education among residents pervaded other aspects of McAllen’s economic life. The metro had the highest rate of households receiving food stamps, the highest rate of individuals without health insurance and the highest percentage of residents living below the poverty line. Only three metro areas had a lower median household income in 2013.

  • 18. Dalton, GA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.3%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 21.8%
    > 2013 median household income: $37,659
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 12.2%

    Dalton is home to many of the nation’s floor covering manufacturers and therefore suffered as home building slowed with the recession. The metro’s unemployment rate, which had been below 5% from 2004 until the onset of the Great Recession in 2007, jumped to double digit rates and only recently has begun to recover. The jobless rate improved a full percentage point from November 2013 to November 2014. The region remains impoverished: 19.5% of households received food stamps, 23.1% of individuals had no health insurance, and 21.8% of individuals lived below the poverty line.

    ALSO READ: The World’s Most Innovative Companies

  • 17. Salinas, CA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.5%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 17.9%
    > 2013 median household income: $57,052
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 22.2%

    The hometown of Nobel Prize author John Steinbeck, Salinas had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country in November 2014 despite improving 0.6 percentage points from November 2013. In the same period, the area’s labor force grew 0.6%. Salinas had one of the highest shares of agricultural jobs. In fact, it is one of seven metro areas with the highest unemployment rates to have a relatively high concentration of agricultural jobs, suggesting the lingering drought in California may have contributed to the high unemployment.

  • 16. Longview, WA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.8%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 14.5%
    > 2013 median household income: $48,417
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 15.6%

    Longview’s unemployment rate shot up with the onset of the Great Recession, more than doubling from 6.3% in 2007 to 14.1% two years later. The area currently has the third highest share of other services jobs and the lowest share of jobs in the arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food service industry. Only 15.6% of adult residents had at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, nearly the lowest attainment rate of all metro areas.

    ALSO READ: 9 Cars That Disappeared in 2014

  • 16. Yakima, WA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.8%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 20.8%
    > 2013 median household income: $41,917
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 15.5%

    While the national job market and the vast majority of metropolitan areas improved from November 2013 to November 2014, this was not the case in Yakima. The metro area’s unemployment rate of 8.8% rose 1.6 percentage points, one of the largest increases in the country. As in many other areas with high unemployment rates, Yakima residents struggle with poverty. Nearly 21% of area residents lived in poverty in 2013, one of the highest rates. More than 15% of the workforce was employed in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and mining industry, considerably higher than the national share of just 2.0%.

  • 14. Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 9.2%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 20.6%
    > 2013 median household income: $45,978
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 13.7%

    The Vineland metro areas had the 10th lowest college attainment rate in the country, at 13.7% of adults. The region has struggled with relatively high unemployment rates for roughly five years. In an effort to stimulate the local economy in 2006, portions of Vineland were designated Urban Enterprise Zones. Sales taxes are reduced for retailers in these zones. Despite the metro area’s otherwise difficult labor struggles, the retail trade sector employed almost 14% of the area’s workforce, the 49th highest share among 358 metros.

    ALSO READ: States With the Best (and Worst) Schools

  • 13. Bakersfield, CA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 9.6%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 22.8%
    > 2013 median household income: $46,879
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 14.4%

    The Bakersfield metro area is located in the San Joaquin Valley, a major source of agricultural products for both California and the rest of the nation. More than 17% of the area’s workforce was employed in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and mining industry, nearly the highest such share in the country. The drought afflicting California and surrounding areas has not helped Bakersfield’s economy. Nearly one in 10 area workers were unemployed, and nearly 23% of residents lived in poverty, both among the highest rates nationwide in 2013.

  • 12. Stockton-Lodi, CA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 10.7%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 19.9%
    > 2013 median household income: $51,432
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 17.2%

    Like most areas with struggling job markets, roughly one in five Stockton-Lodi metro area residents lived in poverty in 2013, one of the highest rates nationwide. There were also more than 700 violent crimes reported in Stockton per 100,000 residents in 2013, one of the highest rates nationwide. As of the first quarter of last year, the median home price in the Stockton metro area had fallen nearly 80% from the peak of well over $1 million in the second quarter of 2006.

    ALSO READ: The Poorest County in Each State

  • 12. Modesto, CA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 10.7%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 22.1%
    > 2013 median household income: $47,962
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 16.0%

    The Modesto metro area’s unemployment rate of 10.7% in November had actually improved 1.4 percentage points from the previous year, a slightly faster improvement than the national change. As in many areas in California, however, Modesto was hit especially hard by the housing crisis and is a long way from full recovery. The median home price fell more than 80% from its peak in the first quarter of 2006, nearly the worst housing price decline among all metro areas.

  • 12. Madera, CA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 10.7%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 23.6%
    > 2013 median household income: $39,758
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 13.0%

    Twenty-three percent of Madera’s workforce was employed in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining industry in 2013, the highest such proportion nationwide. As in most California metro areas with the highest unemployment rates, the bulk of the sector’s employees were agricultural workers, and with the severe drought conditions throughout the region, Madera’s workforce is far from healthy. Nearly 11% of workers were unemployed, and nearly 24% of residents lived in poverty in 2013, both among the highest rates. In addition, nearly 19% had no health insurance, one of the higher rates in the country.

  • 9. Fresno, CA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 11.2%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 28.8%
    > 2013 median household income: $43,925
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 19.8%

    Poor educational attainment rates among Fresno residents partly contributed to the region’s high unemployment rate of 11.2%. Less than three-quarters of adults had completed at least high school, and less than one in five adults held at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, both among the lowest proportions nationwide. Fresno’s poverty rate of nearly 29% was also one of the worst in the country. Like many California metro areas, Fresno relies heavily on agriculture, and the industry has suffered from the drought afflicting the region. Nearly one in 10 members of the workforce was employed in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining industry, one of the higher proportions in the country.

    ALSO READ: The Worst States to Grow Old In

  • 8. Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 11.3%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 18.0%
    > 2013 median household income: $52,127
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 23.5%

    Nearly 28% of workers in the Atlantic City-Hammonton metro area were employed in the arts, entertainment, recreation and accommodation and food services industry in 2013, the second highest such proportion nationwide. Many of these workers were likely employed in the various casinos and resorts in the region. Alongside Atlantic City’s shrinking popularity as a tourist destination, however, its labor force shrank by nearly 4% from November 2013 to November 2014, nearly the largest decline. Widespread casino closings in the area account in part for the downturn. And while a shrinking labor force can open job opportunities, the metro area’s unemployment rate of 11.3% in November had increased slightly from the year before.

  • 7. Hanford-Corcoran, CA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 11.7%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 21.4%
    > 2013 median household income: $45,774
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 12.9%

    With severe drought conditions afflicting California and the surrounding region, the high concentration of farm jobs in the Hanford-Corcoran area — 17.5% of the workforce — can largely account for the poor economic climate. More than 21% of residents lived in poverty, one of the highest rates, and less than 13% of area adults held at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, among the lowest rates nationwide. These weak economic indicators can also partly explain the high unemployment rate of nearly 12% in November.

    ALSO READ: States Where the Middle Class is Dying

  • 6. Yuba City, CA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 12.1%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 18.7%
    > 2013 median household income: $46,773
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 17.0%

    The Yuba City metro area’s economy is especially weak. While unemployment rates fell across the nation and in most metro areas, Yuba City’s November unemployment rate of 12.1% increased 4.5 percentage points from the year before, nearly the worst increase in the country. The area’s labor force also shrank by 1.5% over that period, one of the worst declines. As in many other poor metro job markets, median home prices in the area fell by nearly 58% from their peak in 2006, one of the larger drops among all metro areas.

  • 5. Merced, CA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 12.2%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 25.2%
    > 2013 median household income: $40,687
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 13.5%

    Poor educational attainment rates frequently account in part for high unemployment rates. While nearly 30% of adults nationwide held at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, only 13.5% of Merced residents did so, one of the lowest educational attainment rates. The poor job climate has also likely made getting out of poverty more difficult for many people. More than one in four area residents lived in poverty in 2013, one of the highest poverty rates nationwide. Merced’s housing market was also obliterated during the period leading up to the national crisis. Median home values in the beginning of last year had plummeted 94% from their peak in the middle of 2006.

  • 4. Visalia-Porterville, CA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 12.3%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 30.1%
    > 2013 median household income: $39,422
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 13.3%

    Like many other weak job markets in California, Visalia-Porterville residents were relatively poor. A typical household earned less than $40,000 in 2013, one of the lowest median household incomes nationwide. Partly as a result, nearly 26% of households in the area relied on food stamps in 2013, nearly the highest such rate nationwide. While such government subsidies likely helped in providing relief for many families living in poverty — the poverty rate of 30.1% was nearly twice the national rate of 15.8% — it also reflects a weak economy. More than 12% of the area’s workforce was unemployed in 2013, versus the national November unemployment rate of 5.8%.

    ALSO READ: States With the Highest (and Lowest) Gas Taxes

  • 4. Ocean City, NJ

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 12.3%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 9.4%
    > 2013 median household income: $60,560
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 33.7%

    Unlike the vast majority of other metro areas with poor job markets, Ocean City metro area residents were relatively well-off financially and benefited from a low poverty rate and strong educational attainment rates. The median household income of $60,560 in 2013 was among the higher figures, and the poverty rate of less than 10% was substantially better than the national rate of nearly 16%. And while less than 30% of American adults had completed at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, nearly 34% of Ocean City adults had done so, an exceptionally high proportion given the high unemployment rate of 12.3% in November.

  • 2. El Centro, CA

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 22.7%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 22.1%
    > 2013 median household income: $43,310
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 12.7%

    El Centro is one of only two metro areas where more than one in five workers were unemployed in November. As in many other California metro areas, El Centro’s job market has a relatively high concentration of agricultural positions. While 2.0% of the U.S. workforce worked in the agricultural, forestry, fishing and mining industry, 8.7% of El Centro’s workforce were employed in the sector, one of the higher proportions. In addition, the metro area has yet to make anywhere close to a full recovery from the housing crisis. As of the beginning of last year, the area’s median home price had fallen 56.3% from the peak in 2007. By contrast, median home prices across the country fell 15.9% over a similar period.

    ALSO READ: The Easiest (and Hardest) Jobs to Keep

  • 1. Yuma, AZ

    > 2014 November unemployment rate: 23.1%
    > 2013 poverty rate: 17.8%
    > 2013 median household income: $41,666
    > 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 13.9%

    More than 23% of the Yuma metro area’s workforce was unemployed in November of last year, the highest unemployment rate among all U.S. metro areas. Compared to the previous November, the unemployment rate had also increased 9.3 percentage points, by far the worst change in the nation and over a period when unemployment across the nation improved. Less than 14% of adults in the area had completed at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, one of the lowest educational attainment rates nationwide and a partial explanation for the metro area’s abysmal job market. Despite the increase and poor job climate, the size Yuma’s labor force remained flat from November 2013 to November 2014.

    Click here to see the metro areas with the lowest unemployment rates

    For the original list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

    Read next: Employers Add 295,000 Jobs as Economy Keeps Rolling

    Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Careers & Workplace

These Are the Best (and Worst) Paying Cities for Women

Women in these cities earned less than three-quarters of the median earnings of men

Sunday was International Women’s Day, meant to celebrate achievements among women, and promote greater equality around the world. The United States is doing well in some areas, but continues to struggle to close the gender wage gap. In 2013, the median annual earnings of men were $48,520. Women earned just 78.8% of men’s pay, or about $10,000 less. This difference has remained basically unchanged over at least the last seven years in the U.S.

Women earn less than men in every part of the United States, although the gender pay gap varies considerably across the country. Women’s median pay in Fresno, California was slightly lower than the typical pay of men, while in Provo-Orem, Utah women earned less than 60% of what men earned, the worst pay gap nationwide. Women in the 10 areas with the worst gender pay gaps earned less than three-quarters of the median earnings of men. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed America’s 100 most populous metropolitan areas to find the regions with the smallest and widest gender wage gaps.

Click here to see the best paying cities for women

Click here to see the worst paying cities for women

A small pay gap does not mean women are well paid, just as a large difference between men and women’s earnings does not necessarily mean women have low earnings. In fact, only three of the metro areas with the smallest pay gaps had overall median earnings that exceeded the national median of $42,498, meaning both men and women were not particularly well paid.

In half of the 10 areas where women earned the least compared to men, residents had relatively high wages overall. This may actually have exacerbated the pay gap, because women in these areas were not necessarily paid more than women in other cities. Women workers in nine of the 10 metro areas with the largest pay gaps had median earnings lower than women across the nation. The median earnings of women in the one exception — the Bridgeport metro area — were relatively high at $51,837, but this figure was far lower than the median earnings of Bridgeport men.

In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Ariane Hegewisch, study director at the Institute For Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), explained there is simply less room for wage discrimination when earnings are so low overall. “If you are a high earner, your earnings are very high,” Hegewisch said. Since women are underrepresented among top earners, areas with high median earnings are often more vulnerable to pay discrimination, she added.

Nationwide, women did not have higher median earnings than men in any of the occupations reviewed by the Census. However, different jobs tend to have different gender pay gaps. Among community and social service workers in three of the 10 metro areas with the lowest pay gaps, female workers earned more than their male counterparts.

Female scientists in five of the 10 areas with the smallest pay gaps also had higher median earnings than men, compared with the national pay gap of 86.1% in the science professions. On the other hand, women working in legal occupations — the occupation with the worst pay gap — were paid roughly half of what men were in 2013. And the pay gap among such professionals was even more pronounced in all but two of the metro areas with the worst gender wage gap.

How well-represented women are in a particular occupation is also a factor. If women are better represented they tend to be better paid relative to men, and the opposite is also true.Women working in transportation and construction jobs, for example, made up a small fraction of the workforce and were also paid far less than men. On the other hand, women made up a majority of community and social service workers nationwide, and were paid nearly the same as men.

Hegewisch explained that while making up a minority of the workforce in a particular occupation is frequently a disadvantage for women, it can actually be an advantage for men in the same situation. According to Hegewisch, male nurses, for instance, are often favored for advancements and job openings due in large part to the rarity of men in the profession.

There might be some rationale for paying women less than men In areas where women are less educated than men. However, women and men had approximately the same levels of education in all of the best and worst paying metros for women. In some cases, women had far lower median earnings despite being better educated than men. Women in the Baton Rouge metro area, for example, were more likely than men to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Yet, women in the area had lower median earnings than men, even in occupations requiring high levels of education.

To identify the worst-paying metropolitan statistical areas for women, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed women’s median earnings as a percent of men’s median earnings in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. Median earnings by metro area and by sex came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). A high percentage reflects a small gender pay gap, while a low percentage reflects a large pay discrepancy. We also considered median earnings for specific sectors, sub-sectors, and occupations, as well as median household income. We also reviewed data on the percentage of women and men in specific sectors. Educational attainment rates by gender also came from the American Community Survey.

These are the best (and worst) paying cities for women.

  • 10. Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 85.6%
    > Median earnings for men: $42,039
    > Median earnings for women: $35,987

    Women are paid less than men in every U.S. metro area. In the Little Rock region, however, women’s median earnings equalled 85.6% of male median earnings, the 10th smallest gender pay gap. In some occupations, such as building and grounds cleaning and maintenance, women and men were paid roughly the same in 2013. Female health technologists in Little Rock actually had higher median earnings than men in similar jobs. Unlike many other metro areas with relatively small gender pay gaps, however, male health practitioners, including workers in other technical health occupations, earned approximately double what women did, despite making up a minority of the occupation’s workforce.

    ALSO READ: The Worst Paying Jobs for Women

  • 9. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 86.0%
    > Median earnings for men: $41,369
    > Median earnings for women: $35,562

    Women’s median earnings working in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance jobs in the Las Vegas metro area were roughly equal to men’s earnings. The metro was the only large area in the country where there was no pay gap in this occupation. Unlike most areas, women and men also made up roughly equal shares of the occupation’s workforce. In computer and mathematical occupations, women’s median earnings in 2013 was 119.2% of men’s earnings, the third highest such share compared to large metro areas. Women in the region were also paid more than men in health practitioner occupations, jobs with especially wide gender pay gaps nationwide. In addition, women working in art and entertainment jobs, a dominant sector in the Las Vegas area, were also paid more than men for similar jobs.

  • 8. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metro Area

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 86.4%
    > Median earnings for men: $52,279
    > Median earnings for women: $45,177

    Women working in law enforcement earned nearly 79% of what men earned across the country. In the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks metro area, however, the median earnings of female law enforcement workers were equal to just over half of what men earned in similar jobs, nearly the worst such occupational gender pay gap among large metro areas. Women also earned just half of what men earned in personal care and service occupations — the worst gap among such jobs even though women make up the majority of the occupation’s workforce. The gender wage gap was narrower in other occupations, driving the area’s relatively small gender pay gap. In sales and related occupations, for example, women’s median earnings were 79.6% of men’s earnings, nearly the best such occupational wage gap in large metro areas.

  • 7. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY Metro Area

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 86.4%
    > Median earnings for men: $51,903
    > Median earnings for women: $44,853

    Albany metro area residents were relatively well educated, with more than a third of both men and women having at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, higher than the respective national rates. However, women in the area were paid more fairly in relatively low-paying occupations requiring low levels of education than in higher paying, higher-skilled jobs. The median earnings of female food preparation and serving related workers, for example, were $22,235, only slightly lower than the median earnings of their male counterparts. Women in education jobs, which require higher levels of education, had median earnings 73.7% of what men earned, one of the lowest such shares among large metro areas. Women also made up a majority of education occupations in the area.

  • 6. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL Metro Area

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 86.4%
    > Median earnings for men: $40,079
    > Median earnings for women: $34,644

    Women represented just 5.2% of fire fighting and prevention workers in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metro area. They had median earnings of $31,009, however, in line with the median earnings of men working similar jobs. Women working in art-related jobs were also paid on par with men in the occupation, although median earnings for both sexes were lower than the comparable national figures. In community and social service occupations, women made up a majority of the workforce, and also had higher median earnings than men in similar jobs. This helped narrow the overall pay gap in the area.

    ALSO READ: 10 Disappearing Middle Class Jobs

  • 5. Tucson, AZ Metro Area

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 86.8%
    > Median earnings for men: $41,994
    > Median earnings for women: $36,467

    In computer and mathematical occupations, architectural and engineering jobs, and science fields, women comprised a minority of workers, and they were also paid far less fairly than women working in those fields across the country. Relatively equal pay in other occupations made up for those disparities, contributing to the metro’s fifth-best overall gender pay ratio of 86.8%. The median pay for women in buildings and grounds occupations, for example, was $21,226, 95.7% of what men earned in similar jobs, one of the highest such shares. Additionally, women in legal professions had median earnings of $48,104, lower than the national median earnings for women in the field but also 77.3% what men earned. While this figure is not especially high compared to ratios in other occupations, it was substantially better than the comparable national ratio of 52.6% in legal professions.

  • 4. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX Metro Area

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 87.5%
    > Median earnings for men: $32,187
    > Median earnings for women: $28,152

    The median earnings of McAllen metro area residents were $31,065 in 2013, the lowest among the 100 largest metro areas. Both sexes also had some of the lowest educational attainment rates, at 15.3% for men, and 17.0% for women, both roughly half the percentage of Americans with at least a bachelor’s degree. As Hegewisch explained in an interview with 24/7 Wall St., there may be less opportunity and less room for discrimination in areas with such low incomes. The gender pay gap was small overall in McAllen, and women were paid especially well compared to men in several jobs, such as community and social service occupations. However, women were paid much less fairly in other higher paying jobs. Median earnings for women working in business and financial jobs, for instance, were $36,419 — 70.5% of male median earnings, one of the worst such gaps.

    ALSO READ: Cities Wit the Highest (and Lowest) Unemployment

  • 3. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA Metro Area

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 88.4%
    > Median earnings for men: $51,634
    > Median earnings for women: $45,634

    The Sacramento metro area is one of four California metro areas on the list of 10 areas with the smallest gender pay gaps. Women fared especially well in architecture and engineering occupations and in science professions — both male-dominated fields — with median earnings equal to or greater than the earnings of male workers. The median earnings of female personal care providers were $23,657, higher than the comparable national income and greater than the median earnings of men. Men earned less than the respective national income for the occupation.

  • 2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metro Area

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 88.7%
    > Median earnings for men: $45,916
    > Median earnings for women: $40,749

    Professional female scientists working in the Los Angeles metro area made up a majority of the science-related workforce and had higher median earnings than their male counterparts. Similarly, in office and administrative support occupations, women made up more than two-thirds of workers, although this was less than the national average composition. The median earnings of female office and administrative support workers were $37,256, higher than both the median male earnings and the comparable female median earnings nationwide. LA women also fared well in transportation jobs, a male-dominated occupation. While women in the area comprised just 11.2% of the transportation workforce, their median earnings were nearly $36,000 in 2013, considerably higher than the national figure and 105.4% of the men’s median earnings, the eighth highest percentage compared to other large metro areas.

    ALSO READ: The States Where the Rich are Getting Richer

  • 1. Fresno, CA Metro Area

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 89.6%
    > Median earnings for men: $39,697
    > Median earnings for women: $35,557

    Women working in Fresno made nearly ninety cents for every dollar a man made, the smallest gender pay gap among the 100 largest U.S. metro areas. Overall, earnings were not especially high, with a typical resident earning $37,424 in 2013, versus the national median of $42,498. And while women tended to have higher college attainment rates than men in the area, all residents were far less likely than most Americans to have completed at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013. While women made up a minority of workers in computer and mathematical occupations, as well as in the architecture and engineering professions, their median earnings were higher than their male counterparts. However, in both fields, women in Fresno did not earn more than men in similar jobs nationwide. The gender pay gap would have been even smaller if median earnings for women in legal occupations were higher. Women in such jobs earned less than 40% of what men did, an exceptionally wide gap compared to other areas with the lowest pay gaps.

    Click here to see the worst paying cities for women

  • 10. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 73.2%
    > Median earnings for men: $49,726
    > Median earnings for women: $36,386

    The median earnings of women working in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metro area were $36,386 in 2013, 73.2% of the earnings of men working in the area, the 10th worst gender pay gap among large metro areas. By contrast, women across the country earned 78.8% of what men earned. The area’s women were slightly more likely than the men to have at least a bachelor’s degree, although this was clearly not an advantage. The severity of the area’s pay gap varied widely by occupation. Women working in the installation, maintenance, and repair occupations had earnings on par with their male peers. On the other hand, in the legal professions and architecture and engineering positions women earned 44.4% and 59.1% of the male earnings, respectively. These pay gaps were the widest compared to other occupations in the area, and were also among the worst versus comparable figures in other metro areas.

    ALSO READ: The Best and Worst States for Business

  • 9. Colorado Springs, CO

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 72.7%
    > Median earnings for men: $50,614
    > Median earnings for women: $36,800

    Women in Colorado Springs held 72.3% of education positions, and yet, their earnings equalled just 70.1% of the comparable male earnings in the field. Female health practitioners in the area were paid even more unfairly. The median earnings of men working in the profession were $130,659 in 2013, well more than double the comparable figure for women. The 43.8% wage gap in the field was nearly the worst among the 100 largest metro areas. Worse yet, the median earnings of women working in science occupations were less than 42% of their male peers’ earnings. This was nearly the worst such occupational pay gap among large metro areas, despite the fact that more than two-thirds of the area science positions were held by women.

  • 8. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 71.9%
    > Median earnings for men: $72,097
    > Median earnings for women: $51,837

    While the median earnings of women in Bridgeport were equal to less than 72% of the median for men, they were still relatively well-off financially. The median earnings of women were $51,837 in 2013, considerably higher than the median for all Americans of $42,498. Still, the pay gap in several occupations was especially wide in Bridgeport. Women working in management positions, for example, earned 53.1% of what their male peers earned, nearly the widest gap among large metros. No large metro area had a worse pay gap among business and financial sector occupations, in which Bridgeport women earned less than 58% of what men made in the profession. Men and women in the area both had exceptionally high college attainment rates, at 46.3% and 44.7%, respectively. As Hegewisch explained, pay discrepancies are often higher among highly educated populations.

  • 7. Tulsa, OK

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 71.6%
    > Median earnings for men: $45,316
    > Median earnings for women: $32,468

    Median earnings in the Tulsa metro area were $39,615, one of the lower figures among large metro areas. While gender pay gaps tended to be smaller in areas with low overall earnings, discrepancies between male and female earnings in most Tulsa occupations were exceptionally bad. In business and financial occupations, where women outnumbered men, female median earnings equalled 68.4% of the male median earnings, nearly the worst such gap for this occupation. In art-related jobs, women tended to earn less than 70% of what their male counterparts earned. By contrast, nationally, women in similar occupations earned 90% of what men earned.
  • 6. Baton Rouge, LA

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 71.4%
    > Median earnings for men: $51,821
    > Median earnings for women: $36,994

    While people working in community and social service occupations across the country were paid relatively equally regardless of sex, women working these jobs in Baton Rouge had median earnings nearly $25,000 less than the comparable figure for men. Only the Provo-Orem metro area had a wider gender pay gap among workers in these occupations. And while female dominated occupations tended to have relatively smaller pay gaps, women outnumbered men in Baton Rouge’s community and social service jobs, as well as health technologists and technicians, and still earned far less than men in both fields. In addition, median earnings for women in sales and related occupations were less than 49% of male earnings, nearly the widest such gap. Median earnings for women working in education jobs were 97.9% of male median earnings, the second highest such share in large metro areas. Female median earnings were even higher than men’s earnings in the art professions in the area, at 117.2%, the fourth highest such figure reviewed.

    ALSO READ: America’s Happiest (and Most Miserable) States

  • 5. Bakersfield, CA

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 71.3%
    > Median earnings for men: $44,704
    > Median earnings for women: $31,853

    Despite making up a minority of the workforces in computer and mathematical occupations, as well as in architecture and engineering jobs, the median earnings of female professionals in Bakersfield working in these fields were roughly equal to or greater than their male peers’ earnings. Also, while metro areas with overall low median earnings tended to have smaller gender wage gaps, Bakersfield’s workforce had median earnings of $39,615 in 2013, one of the lower income figures. Still, women earned 71.3% of what their male peers earned, the fifth widest wage gap. Discrepancies between men and women’s pay were most severe in art-related occupations, where the median earnings of men were $75,720, more than $50,000 greater than the comparable figure for women. Women earned 33% what men earned doing the same job, the lowest percentage among female workers in the arts compared to all large metro areas.

  • 4. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 71.0%
    > Median earnings for men: $45,081
    > Median earnings for women: $32,017

    In community and social service occupations, as well as in education jobs, where women made up the majority of the Youngstown area workforces, the median earnings of female workers were greater than or close to equal the male earnings. In architecture and engineering, on the other hand, median earnings for women workers were half of the median earnings of males, nearly the worst occupational wage gap in the field among large metro areas. While women in the area had slightly better educational attainment rates than men, all area residents were far less likely than most Americans to have attained at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013.

    ALSO READ: States Smoking the Most Smuggled Cigarettes

  • 3. Dayton, OH

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 70.6%
    > Median earnings for men: $49,729
    > Median earnings for women: $35,097

    Unlike other large metro areas with the widest gender pay gaps, female managers working in Dayton earned closer to what men did than women working such jobs nationwide. And for area women working in computer and mathematical jobs, median earnings actually exceeded male earnings. However, female workers in other occupations were not so fortunate. In health diagnosing and practitioner occupations, where women made up more than three-quarters of the workforce in Dayton, median earnings for women were equal to 37.2% of male median earnings, nearly the lowest such pay share in large metro areas.

  • 2. Ogden-Clearfield, UT

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 68.6%
    > Median earnings for men: $51,689
    > Median earnings for women: $35,445

    Women in the Ogden metro area were paid especially unfairly in art-related fields and protective service occupations, such as firefighters. Median earnings among women in the two occupations were 55.9% and 42.8% of male earnings, respectively, some of the worst occupational pay gaps in large metro areas. Women in the area had more than 80% of health care support jobs and had median earnings of $25,148. While this was lower than earnings nationally for the same jobs, women working in these fields earned considerably more than men in similar jobs. This was exceptional, however, as area women fared worse than women nationally in nearly every other occupation in the metro. The pay gap among workers in building and ground cleaning and maintenance occupations, for example, was worse than in every other large metro area, with women’s median earnings equal to just 36.3% of male earnings in 2013.

    ALSO READ: Cities Where No One Wants to Drive

  • 1. Provo-Orem, UT

    > Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 59.8%
    > Median earnings for men: $52,170
    > Median earnings for women: $31,209

    The median earnings of working women in the Provo metro area were $31,209 in 2013, less than 60% of median earnings for men, by far the worst pay gap among large metro areas. Unlike other metro areas with large gender pay gaps, men had a far higher educational attainment rate than women, with 41.6% of men holding at least a bachelor’s degree, versus less than 34% of women. Women who had better education still were not guaranteed fair pay. For example, women in legal occupations, which generally require relatively high levels of education, earned roughly one-third of what men did in the same jobs, nearly the worst such pay gap in large metro areas. Median earnings of women working in education fields were equal to less than 62% of median male earnings, the worst pay gap among the 100 largest metro areas. The majority of Utah residents are members of the Mormon Church. Some women’s rights groups have observed that the disparate treatment of men and women in Utah metro areas may be due in part to views held by the Church.

    Click here to see the best paying cities for women

    For the original list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

TIME Retail

These Are the States Smoking the Most Smuggled Cigarettes

cigarettes
Getty Images

Great variation of cigarette taxes between states creates net inflows of smuggled cigarettes for some, while others report net outflows

Tobacco consumption in America has declined consistently since the surgeon general’s office published its first report in 1965. However, more than 18% of adults still identified as smokers in 2013, and in many states, demand for tobacco is high enough to justify large-scale smuggling operations. In New York, a nation-leading 58% of the cigarette market was smuggled in 2013. The share is so high that it hardly fits the description of an underground market.

Cigarette taxes vary greatly between states, and therefore, so do cigarette prices. According to the recent Tax Foundation report, “Cigarette Taxes and Cigarette Smuggling by State, 2013,” this creates arbitrage opportunities for smugglers — that is, the profiting from asset price differences. As a result, some states have net inflows of smuggled cigarettes, while others report net outflows. Based on smuggled cigarettes consumed as a percentage of total cigarettes consumed in 2013, these are the states with the highest cigarette smuggling rates.

Click here to see the states smoking the most smuggled cigarettes

Smuggling can take a variety of forms, from casual smuggling, when individuals purchase cigarettes at a discount across state lines for personal consumption, to commercial smuggling, which could mean large-scale criminal organizations. The severity of these crimes varies considerably, and depending on state regulations, many acts of smuggling go completely unnoticed. For our purposes, cigarette smuggling is defined broadly as an avoidance of cigarette taxes.

A state’s cigarette tax is the largest contributor to the smuggling rate. The tax rate on cigarettes in all but two of the nine states where smuggling is most common exceeded the national average rate of $1.44 per pack. In New York, the tax rate is $4.35 per pack, the highest in the nation. Neighboring Vermont, Pennsylvania, as well as nearby New Hampshire, all had much lower tax rates, as well as net outflows of contraband tobacco.

In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Scott Drenkard, economist and manager of state projects at the Tax Foundation, as well as the author of the Tax Foundation’s report, explained that in states that have much higher taxes than other states, and not very much separation geographically, the likelihood of smuggling increases dramatically. The problem, according to Drenkard, “is that we have a price prohibition on these products because we’ve taxed them at such high rates in some states.” As in the 1920s, “when you have prohibition you’re going to have bootlegging [and] you’re going to have arbitrage,” Drenkard said. “You have the same economic engines at work that create these black markets.”

In addition to the high tax rate variance between states, there is the added opportunity for smugglers to buy cigarettes in Indian reservations where tobacco is often far less expensive. New York, New Mexico, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Washington are all near Indian reservations that likely influence the smuggling rate considerably.

While smuggling cigarettes was extremely lucrative for many smugglers, large-scale or small, smoking cigarettes was relatively uncommon in all of these states. The percentage of adults who identified as smokers in 2013 exceeded the national smoking rate of 18.2% in only two of the nine states reviewed. According to Drenkard, many states have increased excise taxes in order to generate revenue and bolster failing budgets. State reserves as a percent of general fund expenditures in fiscal 2014 — also known as a rainy-day fund — did not exceed the average for the nation in seven of the nine states with the highest smuggling rates.

For Drenkard, levying such so-called “sin taxes” is extremely problematic. For one, “it makes long-term planning for your budget very difficult, [especially] if you have such a large portion of your revenue coming from an activity that you’re actively trying to discourage.” Many of these states have generated relatively large shares of revenue from a tobacco tax. In 2012, state and local tax revenues accounted for at least 2.5% of total revenue in five of the nine states. By contrast, the national average tobacco tax contribution to revenue was 2.2%.

To identify the states smuggling the most cigarettes, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed smuggled cigarettes consumed as a percent of total cigarettes consumed in 2013 from the Tax Foundation’s February 2015 report, “Cigarette Taxes and Cigarette Smuggling by State, 2013.” Only states with smuggling rates greater than 25% were considered. For the Tax Foundation, a positive percentage is a measure of inflow, while a negative percentage indicates an outflow of smuggled cigarettes. Tax rates, smuggling rates from 2006, and percentage point change data also came from the Tax Foundation. Local tax rates, state and local tax revenue figures, and tax burdens are from the Tax Policy Center and are as of the most recent period available. The percent of adults who smoked in 2013 is from the Kaiser Foundation. Rainy-day funds, or reserves as a percentage of general fund expenditures in fiscal year 2014 were provided by Pew Charitable Trusts.

These are the states selling the most contraband cigarettes.

9. Utah
> 2013 consumption smuggled: 27.3%
> 2013 cigarette tax rate: $1.70 (14th highest)
> Smoking rate: 10.3% (the lowest)
> Pct. point change smuggling rate (2006-2013): 14.5 (6th highest)

More than 27% of all cigarettes consumed in Utah in 2013 were smuggled into the state, the ninth highest percentage among all states. The share of smuggled cigarettes consumed has also risen by 14.5 percentage points since 2006, the sixth largest surge nationwide. The increase is largely due to the state’s cigarette tax of $1.70 per pack, which was not only one of the highest such tax rates in 2013, but it had also increased 145% since 2006 — also one of the largest tax rate changes. As in many other states where smuggling cigarettes is common, criminals often buy cigarettes at a discounted price in nearby states and resell them in Utah. Neighboring Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming, where cigarettes are taxed at less than $1.00 per pack, all reported net outflows of smuggled cigarettes. The high cost of tobacco may also have helped discourage smoking altogether. Roughly one in 10 Utah adults were smokers in 2013, the lowest smoking rate compared to other states.

ALSO READ: The Cities Where No One Wants to Drive

8. Texas
> 2013 consumption smuggled: 27.4%
> 2013 cigarette tax rate: $1.41 (22nd highest)
> Smoking rate: 15.9% (5th lowest)
> Pct. point change smuggling rate (2006-2013): 12.6 (8th highest)

While the cigarette tax rate of $1.41 per pack in Texas was slightly lower than the national average rate of $1.44 per pack, the tax rate rose 244% between 2006 and 2013, the third highest increase nationwide. The spike may be especially shocking to Texas residents, who are perhaps more accustomed to relatively low taxes. Texas residents paid just 7.5% of their average personal income in state and local taxes in 2011, nearly the lowest nationwide. Tobacco smuggling is on the rise. More than 27% of all cigarettes consumed in the state were smuggled in 2013, up nearly 13 percentage points from 2006, a larger increase than in all but a handful of states. While Texas’ smuggling rate was among the highest in the country, the smoking rate was not especially high. Less than 16% of Texas adults smoked in 2013, one of the lowest smoking rates in the country.

7. Wisconsin
> 2013 consumption smuggled: 31.2%
> 2013 cigarette tax rate: $2.52 (7th highest)
> Smoking rate: 18.7% (21st lowest)
> Pct. point change smuggling rate (2006-2013): 18.1 (3rd highest)

Cheaper cigarettes in comparatively low tobacco tax states are within reach of Wisconsin residents and businesses. Indiana and Missouri, for example, which both reported net outflows of smuggled cigarettes, and have lower tax rates, are less than a day’s drive from Wisconsin. With a 2013 cigarette tax rate of $2.52 per pack — the seventh highest rate nationwide — many people in Wisconsin likely purchase tobacco elsewhere. In 2013, more than 31% of all cigarettes consumed in Wisconsin were smuggled into the state, also the seventh highest share compared with all states. Despite the smuggling problem, however, Wisconsin’s tax revenue from tobacco grew by 115.8% between 2002 and 2012, higher than the national growth rate of 93.6%. By 2012, tobacco tax revenue accounted for more than 4% of total state revenue, the third highest proportion nationwide.

6. California
> 2013 consumption smuggled: 31.5%
> 2013 cigarette tax rate: $0.87 (18th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 12.5% (2nd lowest)
> Pct. point change smuggling rate (2006-2013): -3.1 (23rd highest)

The high frequency of cigarette smuggling did not prevent local and state tobacco tax revenues from growing substantially in most other states. California’s revenue from tobacco taxes shrank by nearly 19% between 2002 and 2012, however, nearly the largest decrease in the nation. The state’s exceptionally low cigarette tax rate of $0.87 per pack in 2013 — unchanged from 2006 — likely accounts in part for the decline in revenue. The state’s nation-leading sales tax of 7.5% is likely a greater factor contributing to smuggling opportunities. More than 31% of all cigarettes consumed in California were smuggled in 2013, the sixth highest share nationwide. Yet, Californians are among the the least likely to pick up smoking, with 12.5% of adults reporting a smoking habit, nearly the lowest smoking rate.

ALSO READ: Cities Where Crime is Plummeting

5. Rhode Island
> 2013 consumption smuggled: 32.0%
> 2013 cigarette tax rate: $3.50 (2nd highest)
> Smoking rate: 17.4% (16th lowest)
> Pct. point change smuggling rate (2006-2013): -11.2 (6th lowest)

In 2006, more than 43% of all cigarettes consumed in Rhode Island were smuggled into the state, the highest share nationwide at that time. By 2013, smuggling had become less common, dropping by 11.2 percentage points, one of the larger drops in the nation. The state’s cigarette tax increased by 42% over that period as well, to $3.50 per pack, the second highest such tax rate in the country. Rhode Island adults were less likely to be smokers than most Americans. Yet, 4.6% of the state’s total revenue in 2012 came from tobacco taxes, the second highest share in the country and more than double the national tobacco tax contribution of 2.2%. Smuggling cigarettes is perhaps further encouraged by Rhode Island’s sales tax rate, which at 7.0% at the beginning of 2014 was second only to California. The proximity of New Hampshire, which reported the largest net outflow of smuggled cigarettes nationwide, and does not have a sales tax, likely presents even more opportunities to bootleg tobacco.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

TIME Autos

These Are the American Cities Where No One Wants to Drive

car-covered-blue
Getty Images

The ranking is based on the percent of households who did not own a vehicle in 2013

Roads are the arteries of the nation, and the automobile has been the centerpiece of American culture for decades. Despite Americans’ love for their cars, however, the rush hours are no more pleasant, and not everyone wants or can afford a car. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 9.1% of American households did not own a car in 2013.

According to a review of carless households in American cities, residents in some urban areas are far less likely to own a vehicle. In New York City, 54.4% of households did not have a car, the highest percentage nationwide. Based on the percent of households who did not own a vehicle in 2013, these are the cities where no one wants to drive.

Click here to see the cities where no one wants to drive

The concentration of businesses and people plays a major role in both traffic congestion and in many peoples’ decisions to own a car or not. Seven of the 10 cities with the highest proportion of carless households were home to more than 1,000 people per square mile, and all had above average population densities. The average population density across U.S. metro areas was 273.5 per square mile in 2010, by contrast. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Clifford Winston, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that above all, “density is an indication of accessibility.”

Residents of cities with high percentages of carless households were far more likely to use public transportation to commute than most Americans. In all of the 10 cities the percentage of working age residents commuting by public transportation was greater than the national rate of 5.2%. In five of the cities, more than one-quarter of residents used public transit to commute each day. And in New York City, nearly 57% of commuters did so, the highest rate nationwide.

According to Winston, while many people have access to a vehicle and are not forced to take public transit, “the transit system is sort of bailing them out.” That is, “the nature of where they live, their lifestyle, [and] their job accessibility,” permit them to live without a car.

Living without a car in these areas makes sense, Winston continued, because “densely populated areas also have a lot of jobs around them.” Despite the advantages presented by mobility, the unemployment rate in eight of the 10 cities exceeded the national rate of 7.4% in 2013. And while public transportation drastically improves access, this does not mean the journey is fast, or pleasant. The average commute time to work in seven of the 10 cities with high percentages of carless households exceeded the national mean travel time of 25.8 minutes in 2013.

To determine the 10 cities where no one wants to drive, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 575 cities included in the 2013 one-year American Community Survey estimates. Two hundred sixteen of these cities serve as the principal city in their respective metro areas. Our list was based on the percentage of households without a vehicle in these principal cities. We also considered households with one or multiple vehicles. The percentages of individuals commuting to work by car, carpool, public transit, and by foot, were also from the Census. Median household income, poverty rates and population density data came from the Census as well. Population density data are by metropolitan statistical area from 2010. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we considered the 2013 unemployment rate for each city. Lastly, cost of living in 2012 in each city’s metro area was from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

These are the 10 cities where no one wants to drive.

10. San Francisco, Calif.
> Pct. of households without a vehicle: 29.3%
> Pct. commuting to work via public transportation: 32.7% (6th highest)
> Metropolitan area: San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
> Population: 837,442

More than 29% of San Francisco households did not have a car in 2013, the 10th highest proportion among U.S. cities reviewed. Nationwide, just 9.1% of households did not have a car. Like nearly all cities where a relatively large share of residents choose not to own a vehicle, San Francisco is among the nation’s most densely populated. The surrounding metropolitan area was home to 1,754.8 people per square mile on average in 2010 — the third most densely populated metro area in the country. San Francisco also has among the most used public transportation systems, which likely makes living without a vehicle far more convenient than in many other cities. Nearly one third of city residents used public transit in 2013, the sixth-highest usage rate nationwide. The affordability of public transit compared to owning a car may be especially important to San Francisco residents. The metro area had one of the higher costs of living in the country — 21.3% more than the average cost of living across the nation.

ALSO READ: Cities Where Crime is Plummeting

9. Baltimore, Md.
> Pct. of households without a vehicle: 29.8%
> Pct. commuting to work via public transportation: 18.8% (25th highest)
> Metropolitan area: Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
> Population: 622,104

As in most cities where a relatively large share of households do not own a vehicle, Baltimore residents were far more likely than most Americans to use public transportation. Nearly 19% of commuters in the city used public transit, excluding taxis, versus the national proportion of 5.2%. While public transportation is used frequently in Baltimore, this does not mean it is an efficient system. Most large cities had longer than average commute times, and Baltimore was no exception. City residents spent more than 30 minutes on average commuting to work, versus a national average of 25.8 minutes. Public transit usage is cheaper than owning a car. This likely played a bigger role in Baltimore residents’ decision whether or not to own a car as a typical family earned $42,266 in 2013, one of the lower median household incomes among large U.S. cities. The Baltimore metropolitan area is also more expensive than the nation as a whole.

8. Trenton, N.J.
> Pct. of households without a vehicle: 30.0%
> Pct. commuting to work via public transportation: 13.3% (12th lowest)
> Metropolitan area: Trenton, NJ
> Population: 84,344

Finances may be a relatively large consideration for Trenton residents deciding whether to purchase a vehicle. The cost of living was relatively high in Trenton, and the household median income was less than $37,000 in 2013, one of the lowest nationwide. The city also had relatively high unemployment and poverty rates, at 10.9% and 22.9%, respectively. Perhaps to help cut costs, Trenton residents were far more likely than other Americans to either carpool or take public transportation. Nearly 24% of Trenton commuters carpooled in 2013, the third highest rate nationwide. Also, 13.3% of commuters used public transit, one of the higher proportions, and considerably higher than the national percentage of 5.2%.

7. New Haven, Conn.
> Pct. of households without a vehicle: 30.1%
> Pct. commuting to work via public transportation: 9.6% (70th highest)
> Metropolitan area: New Haven-Milford, CT
> Population: 130,654

New Haven was one of only a handful of U.S. cities where residents were more likely to walk to work than take public transit. While less than 10% of commuters used public transportation, 14.5% of commuters walked to work — the fifth highest rate in the nation. New Haven residents were still much more likely than most Americans to use public transit. However, while better access via public transit improves access to employment opportunities, 11.2% of New Haven’s workforce was unemployed in 2013, much higher than the national rate of 7.4%. The Connecticut Department of Transportation’s I-95 NHHC Corridor Improvement Program is intended to improve traffic flow through the New Haven area, and includes commuter rail enhancements. The project is currently underway, and will likely improve public transit service and benefit the more than 30% of carless New Haven households.

6. Philadelphia, Pa.
> Pct. of households without a vehicle: 31.5%
> Pct. commuting to work via public transportation: 27.2% (13th highest)
> Metropolitan area: Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MO
> Population: 1,553,165

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) maintains rail, trolley, and bus routes throughout the Philadelphia region, including the more than 100 bus stations. There were nearly 1,300 people per square mile in Philadelphia in 2010, making the city one of the most densely populated in the country. Perhaps as a result of the high concentration of people and businesses, more than 27% of commuters used SEPTA to commute to work as of 2013, among the highest proportions nationwide. As in other cities with high proportions of carless households, Philadelphia residents were not especially wealthy. The city had a median household income of less than $37,000 in 2013, versus a typical American household’s income of $52,250.

ALSO READ: Companies Cutting the Most Jobs

5. Reading, Pa.
> Pct. of households without a vehicle: 31.7%
> Pct. commuting to work via public transportation: 8.5% (79th highest)
> Metropolitan area: Reading, PA
> Population: 87,894

Compared with other cities with high percentages of carless households, Reading residents were not as likely to use public transit, with 8.5% of commuters doing so in 2013. However, this was still higher than the national rate of 5.2%. While Reading commuters were more likely to drive to work, 21% opted to carpool, the fifth highest proportion among large U.S. cities and more than double the national carpool rate of 9.4%. The high cost of owning a car has likely prevented many area households from owning one. Reading had a poverty rate of nearly 40% in 2013, a higher rate than in all but a handful of U.S. cities. And the unemployment rate of 10.5% was far higher than the national rate of 7.4% that year.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

TIME Small Business

These Are the Best (and Worst) States for Business

hand-holding-open-sign
Getty Images

All of the 10 best states had unemployment rates below the national unemployment rate in 2013

While the United States was founded on the principle of equality for all people, the 50 states are decidedly unequal in providing opportunities for business. For companies choosing to locate in the United States, deciding the state in which to base their operations can be very difficult.

To determine America’s best states for business, 24/7 Wall St. identified nearly 50 measures that contribute to the business climate and reviewed them in each of the 50 states. The measures were classified into eight larger categories that independently measured various risks and benefits of doing business in each state. (Click here for a complete methodology.)

The health of a state’s economy, the result of a confluence of factors, is perhaps the most important consideration for businesses choosing a location. The growth of economic output in 2013 in seven of the 10 best states for business was greater than the national GDP growth rate of 1.8%.

Another indication of a healthy economy, the job market, was also strong in the 10 best states for business. All of the 10 states had unemployment rates below the national unemployment rate of 7.4% in 2013. Four of the worst states for business had unemployment rates that exceeded the national rate.

Click here for the best states for business

Click here for the worst states for business

However, while a state’s economy is tied to a host of factors, not all factors benefit businesses in the same way. The business climate in some states was more favorable to companies primarily concerned with minimizing the costs and risks of operating a business. These states, which include North Dakota, Wyoming, and Texas, tended to enjoy ample natural resources, low cost of living, and low regulation.

Some states benefit from a well-educated and highly skilled labor force. They are able to attract businesses that require these skills, such as professional and business services, health and education services, and information. In return, these businesses drive economic growth in these states through technology and innovation. These states include Massachusetts, Virginia, and Minnesota.

While it is emphasized more in some industries than in others, a low cost of doing business is a major reason to choose to operate in a particular state. The average cost of goods and services in six of the best states for business was lower than the national average. This was generally driven by beneficial tax climates, lower expenses from utilities and real estate, and lower average employee compensations.

Although the type and size of operating costs vary considerably between industries, wages are a major expense for many businesses. The average wage and salary in three of the 10 best states for business was roughly inline with the national average of $50,012 in 2013, while in five other states, average wages were below the national figure.

While lower wages lower the cost of doing business, they are also frequently tied to jobs with lower educational attainment. Among the five best states for business with lower than average wages, three had lower educational attainment rates than the national figure. In these states, including North Dakota and Wyoming, the prevalence of industries that require high-skilled labor was also relatively low.

Nevertheless, the percent of STEM jobs in a majority of the best states for business — jobs related to science, technology, engineering, or mathematics — was generally high. At least one in five of all jobs in eight of the 10 best states for business were STEM jobs. On the other hand, the percent of jobs in STEM fields was relatively low in the worst states for business.

In addition to a highly-educated labor force, access to capital can also drive innovation in a state. In 2013, 13.26 venture capital deals were made per 1 million Americans. In seven of the worst states for business, there were fewer than three such deals per 1 million residents. In the best states, on the other hand, investments were far more likely. In Massachusetts, there were 57 venture capital deals made per 1 million state residents, by far the highest nationwide.

These are the best (and worst) states for business.

The Best States for Business

10. Minnesota
> Real GDP growth, 2012-2013: 2.8% (13th highest)
> Average wages and salaries, 2013: $49,222 (14th highest)
> Pct. of adults with bachelor’s degree, 2013: 33.5% (10th highest)
> Patents issued to residents, 2013: 4,292 (9th highest)
> Projected working-age population growth, 2010-2020: 1.7% (9th highest)

Based on eight categories, including 47 measures, Minnesota is the 10th best state for business in the country. Informing the state’s high quality of life rank, just 8.2% of Minnesotans did not have health insurance in 2013, the fifth lowest rate nationwide. Also, the state was one of the safest, with a violent crime rate of 223.2 reported incidents per 100,000 people, among the lowest rates in the nation.

The state also received one of the highest scores for Infrastructure. Compared with other states, Minnesota businesses can also expect relatively well functioning transportation system. For example, just 11.5% of the state’s bridges were deemed structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, the lowest rate nationwide and less than half the national percentage of 24.3%. Businesses in the state also have the benefit of a relatively well-educated workforce. More than one-third of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree versus less than 30% of Americans. And 92.4% of state adults had completed at least high school as of 2013, the fourth highest rate in the country.

ALSO READ: America’s Happiest and Most Miserable States

9. North Dakota
> Real GDP growth, 2012-2013: 9.7% (the highest)
> Average wages and salaries, 2013: $46,775 (20th highest)
> Pct. of adults with bachelor’s degree, 2013: 27.1% (20th lowest)
> Patents issued to residents, 2013: 111 (2nd lowest)
> Projected working-age population growth, 2010-2020: 0.4% (2nd lowest)

North Dakota’s oil boom has spurred strong growth throughout the state’s industries, in residents’ personal incomes, and in employment. Less than 3% of the workforce was unemployed in 2013, the lowest in the country. As a consequence of the high levels of investment and spending in the state, North Dakota’s GDP grew nearly 10% in 2013. While this was by far the highest growth rate nationwide and more than five times the national growth rate of 1.8%, growth may slow considerably if oil prices continue to fall.

In addition to high wages and job opportunities, residents benefit from a relatively low cost of living. In 2013, the cost of housing required 26% of a typical household income, the second-lowest median annual affordability ratio nationwide. As in other states with a low cost of living, North Dakota also had a healthy infrastructure. Partly as a result, workers in the state benefited from an average commute time of less than 18 minutes, versus the national figure of nearly 26 minutes. It was the third lowest commute time in the country.

8. Virginia
> Real GDP growth, 2012-2013: 0.1% (3rd lowest)
> Average wages and salaries, 2013: $53,267 (10th highest)
> Pct. of adults with bachelor’s degree, 2013: 36.1% (6th highest)
> Patents issued to residents, 2013: 1,886 (21st highest)
> Projected working-age population growth, 2010-2020: 7.5% (21st highest)

Virginia’s large capacity for innovation, and high quality labor force helped make it the eighth best state for business. The Old Dominion State scored in the top 10 of states for the percentage of STEM jobs — jobs related to science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. More than 36% of adults in the state had completed at least a bachelor’s degree, which helped strengthen the labor force. The state also fared very well for its business-friendly regulatory environment, its relatively low poverty rate, and its comparatively low energy costs.

What held Virginia back from an even higher overall ranking was its weak infrastructure, which was ranked lowest among the states. Residents had one of the longest average commuting times of 27.7 minutes, and the state spent among the least per mile on road repair. Virginia also struggled with weak real GDP growth, 0.1% in 2013, third lowest in the country.

ALSO READ: The Worst Paying Jobs for Women

7. Colorado
> Real GDP growth, 2012-2013: 3.8% (6th highest)
> Average wages and salaries, 2013: $51,537 (11th highest)
> Pct. of adults with bachelor’s degree, 2013: 37.8% (2nd highest)
> Patents issued to residents, 2013: 2,793 (14th highest)
> Projected working-age population growth, 2010-2020: 8.6% (14th highest)

Colorado’s business climate is among the best in the country largely due to a strong labor market and an especially strong and innovative technology sector. These features are interwoven as a highly educated workforce is essential for innovation. Nearly 38% of adults in Colorado had at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, the second highest rate nationwide. As of that year, 14% of adults had completed a graduate or professional degree, a higher percentage than in all but a handful of states. The state’s population is projected to grow by 13.4% from 2010 through 2020 versus an estimated national growth rate of 7.1%, which also contributes to a strong labor market. Nearly 22% of all jobs in Colorado were STEM positions, the seventh highest proportion in the country.

6. Texas
> Real GDP growth, 2012-2013: 3.7% (8th highest)
> Average wages and salaries, 2013: $50,643 (13th highest)
> Pct. of adults with bachelor’s degree, 2013: 27.5% (23rd lowest)
> Patents issued to residents, 2013: 9,222 (2nd highest)
> Projected working-age population growth, 2010-2020: 16.1% (2nd highest)

Like a majority of the best states for business, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s rated Texas’ credit among the best in the nation. The Lone Star State also led the states in the value of exported goods, which totalled nearly $1.9 trillion in 2012. There were also 386 public use airports, the most in the nation. Curiously, while Texas had the third most post-secondary schools in the nation at 420 in 2013, it actually had the second lowest percentage of adults who had completed at least high school, at 81.9%. Texas benefits considerably from its abundant natural resources. For example, the mining industry accounted for 11.1% of the state’s GDP in 2013, the sixth highest such contribution in the country. Other kinds of businesses do not do particularly well in Texas. The information, finance-insurance-real-estate, professional and business service industries contributed relatively little to the state’s GDP.

5. Delaware
> Real GDP growth, 2012-2013: 1.6% (20th lowest)
> Average wages and salaries, 2013: $51,093 (12th highest)
> Pct. of adults with bachelor’s degree, 2013: 29.8% (19th highest)
> Patents issued to residents, 2013: 453 (15th lowest)
> Projected working-age population growth, 2010-2020: 8.9% (15th lowest)
Based on several factors, Delaware’s regulatory climate was the most favorable nationwide for business. With high percentages of tech workers and strong independent investments, Delaware is also among the best states for innovation. More than 21% of all jobs in the state were STEM jobs, the eighth highest proportion in the country. The average venture capital investment of nearly $14.2 million per deal in 2013 — the second highest such figure nationwide — also reflects the high level of innovation and easy access to capital in the state.

Not so strong was Delaware’s infrastructure, which rated worse than most states. However, the consequence for businesses may be relatively small as businesses are concentrated in industries not especially dependent on transportation. For example, the financial industry, in which goods and services are relatively intangible, accounted for 42.1% of state GDP in 2013, the highest such contribution nationwide.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

These Are the Companies Cutting the Most Jobs

businessman-box-full-stuff
Getty Images

Technology companies were the largest downsizers in 2014

Planned job cuts among U.S. companies in 2014 totaled 450,531 through November, down 5.8% compared to the same period in 2013. According to global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, this was the lowest count of year-end job cut announcements since 1997.

No company announced more layoffs in 2014 than Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ), which announced a total of 21,000 job cuts. Based on data from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the companies that planned the most job cuts last year.

Click here to see the companies cutting the most jobs.

In some cases, companies shed jobs in an effort to return to profitability or because they become insolvent. However, in an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Challenger, Gray & Christmas CEO John Challenger explained that this is not the case for most companies. Particularly in a strong economy, many companies are “doing regular strategic evaluation of their business looking for areas of redundancy, [and] looking for ways to make their organization a tighter ship.”

Technology companies were the largest downsizers last year with several long-time stalwarts leading the way. Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), and Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) announced the most job cuts, not only among tech companies, but also overall. The industry as a whole announced more than 58,000 job cuts in 2014, the highest number among all industries. According to Challenger, “technology is a particularly volatile sector in our economy [because] products become obsolete more quickly than they do in some other industries that are slower, safer, and have less opportunity.”

The industry with the second largest planned layoffs in 2014 was retail, with nearly 42,000 job cuts announced. This figure is actually down from 2013, despite layoffs at Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD), as well as Coldwater Creek, which declared bankruptcy in April. Financial companies, too, were among the top companies cutting jobs. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), for example, was among the 10 companies with the most planned layoffs in 2014.

One factor that often drives job cuts is industry evolution. According to Challenger, this is especially true in the retail sector. “It’s an area of low margins and fierce competition and technology is making a big difference in how consumers are coming to stores,” Challenger said. Retailers are making cuts, he explained, as a result of the changing retail landscape, especially the fact that more shopping is done online.

Other companies cut jobs in an effort to continue to stay competitive. Shareholders invest in companies that they hope will generate higher returns than other companies. In order to provide such returns, companies often restructure their operations to trim costs and increase profits, which can lead to layoffs. Sears Holdings, which has been reporting declining sales and consistent losses in recent years, is undergoing one of the most dramatic such restructurings. CEO Eddie Lampert set up a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to buy Sears stores and lease them back to the company and others. This raised the company’s stock price considerably despite the fact Sears is still losing money.

In some cases, the companies that announced layoffs truly had no choice. For example, Coldwater Creek had to close all of its stores after filing for bankruptcy protection. Not only were shareholders wiped out in the bankruptcy, but also the company had to close all of its stores in order to pay off its creditors, eliminating thousands of jobs in the process.

Challenger Gray & Christmas provided 24/7 Wall St. with all job cut announcements affecting at least 500 positions through 2015. 24/7 Wall St. combined the planned cuts by company to identify the companies that announced the most job cuts last year. We only considered publicly traded American companies. However, job cuts did not need to be entirely within the United States. Some cuts announced last year may not be completed until later this year. Consolidated revenues and employee totals are from each company’s most recent financial report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. If the company did not disclose global headcount for the quarter, figures from its last annual report were used. We relied in part on our previous analysis of Challenger Grey & Christmas data published September 25th. To the extent layoff figures were unchanged from that period, discussions of companies that also appeared in our earlier article were kept the same.

These are the 10 companies cutting the most jobs.

10. Amgen Inc.
> Job cuts: 4,000
> Number of employees: 18,000
> 1yr. share price change: +27.28%

In recent years, biotechnology company Amgen has reduced its global workforce as part of its restructuring plan to focus on drug development. While layoffs in the technology sector more than doubled between the first halves of 2013 and 2014, job cuts in the pharmaceutical industry declined in that time, falling by 15.4%. Despite the industry trend, the company announced in August it would cut 2,900 employees. In October, Amgen announced it would close a research and development facility in Seattle that would result in an additional 1,100 job cuts, bringing the 2014 total to about 4,000. The restructuring plan will reduce the company’s workforce by up to 15% and includes the closure of several facilities in Washington and Colorado. Amgen reported strong earnings in 2013 and in 2014. According to the company, the layoffs are “natural steps in a long-term strategy.”

ALSO READ: 10 States With the Worst Taxes for the Average American

9. Procter & Gamble
> Job cuts: 4,430
> Number of employees: 118,000
> 1yr. share price change: +11.72%

Procter & Gamble announced in early November it would cut 4,430 jobs, the ninth highest number of announced job cuts reviewed. Last year marks the fourth consecutive year the consumer products company has reduced its total workforce. As of 2014, there were 118,000 Procter & Gamble employees, versus 132,000 in 2009. As is the case with many other companies, cost-cutting measures such as layoffs are often part of a strategy to maintain consistent income growth. P&G’s net sales have grown each year since as early as 2012. The company reported net sales of $83.1 billion in the 12 months prior to June 2014. In addition to slashing employment, P&G also announced in August that it would eliminate as many as 100 underperforming brands to further improve results.

8. Sprint Corp.
> Job cuts: 5,000
> Number of employees: 36,000
> 1yr. share price change: -40.27%

Sprint Corporation, one of the nation’s largest cellphone carriers, stated at the end of October it would lay off 5,000 workers for restructuring purposes. Earlier that month Sprint cut 452 jobs at its headquarters in Kansas. Sprint had 36,000 employees at the end of 2014, down from the approximately 38,000 employees it had the year before. Despite the layoffs, Sprint may roughly double its store count in a deal with RadioShack, which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. If the deal is finalized, Sprint would operate as a store-within-a-store in nearly 2,000 RadioShacks.

7. Intel Corp.
> Job cuts: 5,350
> Number of employees: 106,700
> 1yr. share price change: +35.66%

At the start of 2014, after poor earnings and growth forecasts, Intel announced it would implement cost cutting measures. Part of the measures included plans to reduce its global workforce by 5,350 people, or 5% of its headcount, throughout the year. According to Intel spokesperson Chris Kraeuter, the cuts would primarily consist of “people retiring, redeploying, or leaving voluntarily.” In addition, the chip maker announced in April that it was shutting down its assembly and test operations in Costa Rica. While this eliminated 1,500 jobs, Intel continued to employ more than 1,000 engineering, finance, and human resources workers in the country.

6. Sears Holdings
> Job cuts: 5,400
> Number of employees: 249,000
> 1yr. share price change: -9.32%

While layoffs are not always a sign of weak revenue, retail holding company Sears has been closing stores and shedding employees for years as a result of faltering sales. The company reported revenue of $36.2 billion for the 12 months through February 1, 2014, down by more than $3.6 billion from the previous period. According to Challenger, Gray, & Christmas, Sears announced in October 5,400 job cuts, the sixth largest compared with other U.S. public companies. However, Sears is closing stores so fast that it may be difficult to keep track. In 2014, the company closed 235 stores, most of which were Kmart locations. The layoffs were announced at a time when most retailers were hiring workers for the holiday season. As of the beginning of 2014, Sears had roughly 226,000 U.S. employees, including part-time workers.

ALSO READ: Cities Where Crime is Soaring

5. Coldwater Creek
> Job cuts: 5,500
> Number of employees: N/A
> 1yr. share price change: -92.84%

Women’s apparel retailer Coldwater Creek filed for bankruptcy in April after it was unable to find a buyer for its operations. Shareholders in the company were wiped out as the company began the process of closing its 350 stores and laying off its 5,500 workers. However, there may be a silver lining for at least a few employees. As part of bankruptcy proceedings, other retailers bought a number of Coldwater Creek’s leases. While most employees may be out of luck, customers may be able to soon buy Coldwater Creek merchandise again. Private equity firm Sycamore Partners bought the Coldwater Creek brand name. The new owner relaunched the brand as Coldwater Creek Direct, an online retailer that aims to sell women apparel via a catalog.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

TIME real estate

These Are America’s Happiest (and Most Miserable) States

alaska-sled-dogs
Getty Images

The ranking illustrates how states perform in the five essential elements of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical

Alaska led the nation with the highest level of well-being of all states, supplanting North Dakota, which plummeted to 23rd place. West Virginia remains the state with the lowest well-being for the sixth consecutive year.

The 2014 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index measures the well-being of Americans in each state based on interviews conducted between January and December, 2014. This year’s index incorporated a range of metrics categorized into five essential elements of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical. Based on the well-being index, 24/7 Wall St. examined the states with the highest and lowest scores.

Click here to see the happiest states in America

Click here to see the most miserable states in America

While Gallup’s index is based in part on subjective survey measures, the respondents’ perceptions are often closely tied to outcomes. According to Dan Witters, research director of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, well-being is closely linked to economic indicators and societal outcomes, such as median household income and teen pregnancy rates.

Witters explained that the five essential elements of well-being are interwoven, and a high score in one category can lead to a high score in another. However, this was not guaranteed by any means. All of the 10 happiest states rated better than most in the purpose category, which measures how much residents like their day-to-day lives and how motivated they are to meet their goals. However, in other categories, such as the financial element of well-being, two of the top states overall fared worse than most states.

Physical health, which together with healthy behaviors, was part of the physical element of well-being this year, is an especially important factor contributing to happiness, according to Witters. In fact, examination of healthy behaviors and outcomes measured by government data suggest this is the case.
In states with high well-being scores, residents were less likely to smoke and more likely to exercise regularly. Residents in nine of the happiest states were more likely than most Americans to have an exercise routine of some kind. All but one of the states with the lowest well-being, on the other hand, had more physically inactive residents compared to the national average.

The states with the highest well-being also enjoyed the positive outcomes of healthy behaviors, including lower obesity rates and smaller incidences of other common health problems, while in general the opposite was true for the states with the lowest well-being. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, as well as heart disease-related deaths were all far more common in the states with the lowest well-being.

While money certainly does not buy happiness, financial well-being plays a significant role in happiness. All of the most miserable states had median household incomes far below the national median income of $52,250 in 2013. However, the median household income in only half of the happiest states exceeded the national median income.

The states with the happiest residents also had relatively low unemployment rates, and people reported relatively few days of poor mental health. The unemployment rates in all of the 10 happiest states was less than the national rate of 7.4% in 2013. And nine of these states reported fewer monthly poor mental health days than the national average.

A regional pattern is also evident. According to Witters, while the top and bottom states change regularly from one year to the next, they tend to be in similar parts of the country. Witters said states in New England, the Northern Plains and Mountain West regions, as well as Alaska and Hawaii, generally and regularly report very good well-being. Low well-being, on the other hand, is found “around the Bible Belt…the South and heading north up through the industrial midwest.” Witters described this as “a very consistent pattern.”

“The thing about those southern states,” he said, “that really hurts them is that they do a lousy job taking care of themselves.”

24/7 Wall St. reviewed all 50 U.S. states based on their scores in the Gallup-Healthways 2014 Well-Being Index. Gallup-Healthways calculated a national well-being score as well as one for each state based on interviews conducted between January 2 and December 30, 2014, with a random sample of 176,702 adults. As part of the rank, Gallup combined five separate essential elements of well-being. In addition to the index, 24/7 Wall St. considered data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey, including median household income, poverty rates, and adult educational attainment rates. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we reviewed annual state unemployment rates and median hours worked among, both from 2013. We also reviewed 2013 obesity and teen pregnancy rates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Incidence of heart disease in 2013 is from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The share of the population with low incomes and low access to healthy food comes from the Department of Agriculture’s Food Environment Atlas. Low access is defined as living more than one mile from a supermarket in an urban area or more than 10 miles from a supermarket in a rural area. We also considered state violent crime rates in 2013 from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report Program. Lastly, we used 2012 regional price parity from the Bureau of Economic Analysis as a proxy for cost of living. All other data come from the United Health Foundation’s 2014 report “America’s Health Rankings”.

These are the happiest (and most miserable) states in America.

The Happiest States in America

10. Texas
> Poverty rate: 17.5% (13th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.3% (17th lowest)
> Obesity rate: 30.9% (15th highest)
> Poor mental health days (last 30 days): 3.2 (9th lowest)

Based on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, Texas residents had the 10th highest well-being in the nation. Texas residents were among the most likely to be content with their jobs and be motivated to achieve their goals, with the state ranking second in the purpose category, one of five elements of well-being in Gallup’s Index. Texans worked 36.3 hours per week in 2013, the most nationwide. This may reflect in part Texans’ motivation and workplace satisfaction. Texans were not especially healthy, however, with an obesity rate of nearly 31% in 2013 and relatively few residents reporting routine exercise. More than 22% of residents did not have health insurance in 2013, the worst rate nationwide, which may have made it more difficult for Texans than most Americans to get the medical care they need. Despite these poor physical health indicators, nearly 71% of adolescents in the state were vaccinated in 2013, one of the higher rates, and less than 16% of adults were smokers, one of the lower smoking rates reviewed.

ALSO READ: The Worst Paying Jobs for Women

9. New Mexico
> Poverty rate: 21.9% (2nd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.9% (24th highest)
> Obesity rate: 26.4% (13th lowest)
> Poor mental health days (last 30 days): 3.7 (24th lowest)

Unlike most states with the happiest residents, a typical household in New Mexico had relatively low income in 2013, earning a median of less than $44,000. The median national household income was $52,250 that year. New Mexico also had an exceptionally high poverty rate, at nearly 22% in 2013, the second highest nationwide. While many New Mexico residents struggled with financial burdens, they tended to be in relatively good physical health. For example, the obesity rate of 26.4% was among the lower rates in the nation. Residents reported relatively few cases of high blood pressure and high cholesterol as well, which likely contributed to a lower incidence of heart disease. There were 147 heart disease-related deaths per 100,000 people in 2013, the 10th lowest such rate in the country. On Gallup’s survey, New Mexicans rated their physical health and habits fifth best in the country.

8. Utah
> Poverty rate: 12.7% (14th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.4% (4th lowest)
> Obesity rate: 24.1% (4th lowest)
> Poor mental health days (last 30 days): 3.5 (18th lowest)

Utah is one of only a few states where less than one-quarter of adults were obese in 2013. Residents were also the least likely in the nation to report high blood pressure and high cholesterol that year. Utah residents generally reported healthy behaviors, which likely helped contribute to the good health outcomes and the state’s high well-being. Utah adults were the least likely to be smokers, with only 10.3% reporting the habit in 2013. Traditionally low smoking rates may have helped Utah residents stay healthy and out of the hospital. Between 2010 and 2012, there were less than 146 cancer-related deaths per 100,000 people, the lowest rate nationwide. In addition to strong physical health, Utah residents also liked where they lived, felt safe, and reported having pride in their community — the state ranked seventh in the nation in Gallup’s community element of well-being. Like most states scoring well in this category, Utah’s violent crime rate of 209 incidents per 100,000 people in 2013 was among the lowest in the country.

7. Nebraska
> Poverty rate: 13.2% (17th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.9% (3rd lowest)
> Obesity rate: 29.6% (24th highest)
> Poor mental health days (last 30 days): 3.0 (6th lowest)

With an unemployment rate of 3.9% in 2013, the third lowest nationwide, Nebraska residents had the benefit of a relatively strong job market. Nebraskans were also more likely than most Americans to feel content with their jobs, rating their day-to-day contentment and motivation to meet goals — part of the purpose element of well-being — the seventh best nationwide. Workers also reported having just three poor mental health days per month in 2013, the sixth-lowest figure nationwide. While the median household income in Nebraska was slightly lower than the national figure, the cost of living was considerably more affordable than most states. As in most of the happiest states, Nebraska is also a relatively safe state. There were approximately 252 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2013, one of the lower rates in the country.

6. Colorado
> Poverty rate: 13.0% (16th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.8% (25th highest)
> Obesity rate: 21.3% (the lowest)
> Poor mental health days (last 30 days): 3.3 (11th lowest)

Colorado retained its 2013 standing on the list of happiest states, with a particularly high ranking in the physical element of well-being this year. The state had the lowest diabetes rate of all states, ranked second lowest in the percentage of the population with high blood pressure, and ranked third lowest in the percentage of residents with high cholesterol. The state also had the lowest obesity rate in the country, at 21.3% of the adult population. Residents were also relatively well-off financially. The state’s 2013 median household income of $58,823 was the 12th highest in the country. In addition, only 8.6% of Colorado households received food stamp benefits in 2013. Colorado households also had better access to services such the Internet, as 79.4% of residents reported having a broadband Internet subscription, the fourth highest percentage in the country.

ALSO READ: States Smoking the Most Smuggled Cigarettes

5. Montana
> Poverty rate: 16.5% (19th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.6% (14th lowest)
> Obesity rate: 24.6% (6th lowest)
> Poor mental health days (last 30 days): 3.3 (11th lowest)

As in most states with the happiest residents, Montanans were well educated. Nearly 93% had completed at least high school as of 2013, the third highest rate and considerably higher than the national rate of 86.6%. Montana residents were in exceptionally good physical health, which likely significantly contributed to happiness. Less than one-quarter were obese in 2013, for example, the sixth-lowest rate nationwide. Residents also had relatively low rates of diabetes and high blood pressure. Residents were not especially wealthy, however, earning a median household income of $46,972 in 2013, lower than the national figure of $52,250.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com