Alaskan workers are the happiest in the United States, thanks in part to higher wages and shorter work weeks, according to a new report from SelectSoftware Reviews, a human resources platform.
The researchers looked at several factors to come up with their list, including salaries, attrition rate, commute time, work hours, injuries, and pay time.
Alaska employees enjoy an average work week of 31.3 hours, an average annual salary of $52,000, and an overall job satisfaction score of 69.96 out of 100.
Job satisfaction is essential to happiness, according to Miriam Liss, professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
“Meaningful work allows you to feel competent and capable, able to do the tasks that matter to you,” Liss says. “When you have a more meaningful and purposeful life, you experience happiness,” he emphasized.
Other states with the happiest workers include Rhode Island, North Dakota, Colorado, and Minnesota, according to the report.
Rhode Island, which came in second, had the lowest dropout rate and the lowest injury rate of any state. North Dakota, which comes in third, has an annual salary of $47,400 and an average commute of just 17.6 minutes.
Signs of “not so happy”
The least happy workers are in Georgia, Texas, Florida, South Carolina, and New York, according to the report.
Georgia has the lowest job satisfaction, with an overall score of 29.62. Texas has the second-longest average work week at 43.6 hours. In Florida, the average worker earns $18 an hour compared to Alaskans, who earn $32 an hour. Meanwhile, workers in South Carolina earned $13,000 less in annual wages than workers in Alaska.
“Experiencing poverty definitely makes you sad,” Liss said, “because your basic needs are not met and you don’t have the ability to have a lifestyle that gives you some autonomy and allows you to make decisions.”
New York, which has the longest commute time of any state, ranks fifth on the list of unhappiest workers.
“These results show the enormous impact a location can have on how workers feel about their jobs, whether due to state laws, commute time, or wages,” the report said. “It underscores the importance of employers creating environments where employees find true fulfillment and can thrive.”