Why has Texas jumped ahead on jobs this year?
One report say the US economy grew more than projected, but not all economic growth is equal, and Texas is the best state, job-wise, this year.
Andrew D. Brosig/Tyler Morning Telegraph/AP
No true Texan would admit that the state was capable of improvement, but Forbes declared the Lone Star State the best place in the United States to make a living.
The US economy's overall health is in a better place than had been expected, reports Reuters. The economy was strong in the July to September period, with more profits in the corporate sector than predicted. It seems people spent more money, and since consumer spending makes up two-thirds of US economic activity, that helped.
Richard Barrington, financial analyst for MoneyRates.com and the study's author, agreed that growth is looking good, but for someone who is really looking for the best of the best, there is only one place to be – Texas.
"We tend to talk about the US economy and the job market as if they’re all one thing, but it’s too big for that," Mr. Barrington told Forbes. "There are sharp differences from one state to another."
The ranking on which states are better to work in was based on average wages, state tax rates, and each state's unemployment rate. To get a realistic picture of life for workers in each state, the cost of living and number of accidents on the job also factored in, according to Moneyrates.com.
Barrington told The Christian Science Monitor there is no change in the rankings since the summer, as the comparison among states remains about the same with an improved economy.
Washington had received the top ranking last year, and it dropped only one place in 2015. The other states in the top five were Wyoming, Virginia, and Illinois. Hawaii and Oregon were the list's two worst states for workers.
Texas, Washington, and Wyoming have one thing in common – no income tax. Texas makes up the difference with income and property taxes, as well as royalties on the state's oil and gas production, according to USA Today.
Rising construction was another part of the equation for the increased economic growth, and Texas has done its part. In April, Texas Public Radio reported that Texas was well above the national average in construction growth.
"The construction industry is looking for plumbers, electricians, welders, carpenters, even drivers and heavy equipment operators. Those are key positions we need to fill right away," Doug McMurry of the Associated General Contractors told Texas Public Radio.
Construction picked up so quickly that workers were not keeping up with demand, and the state's contracting associations decided to partner up with the US Department of Labor for a job fair to try and attract more workers. This atmosphere is part of why Texas received the top ranking for workers.
To any states saddened at not receiving this distinction, Forbes wrote, "For states looking to land on the positive end of this annual ranking, the lessons are simple: Offer healthy wages, manageable taxes, a low cost of living, and safe working environments."