These Are the Best and Worst States to Find a Job

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Applying for gigs, but not scoring any interviews? Keep in mind that job markets are often like real estate—all about location. If sterling qualifications and a polished resume aren’t helping you land your dream position, consider moving somewhere with more robust career opportunities.

To determine which U.S. states are the best for employment, personal finance website WalletHub compared and ranked them, using metrics like job opportunities (defined as number of job openings per total population in the labor force), the rate of annual job growth, the median annual income, and employment outlook, as based on Gallup's Job Creation Index. And since personal happiness is equally important as a steady paycheck, other criteria included factors like average commute time and overall job satisfaction.

In order, the top five overall best states for jobs are Washington, Colorado, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and New Jersey. The bottom five are West Virginia (No. 50), preceded by Louisiana, Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Looking to narrow down your employment search? Those seeking a high salary should look in Washington or across the Northeast U.S. That said, money isn’t everything: Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and Utah top the list for job satisfaction, while Delaware comes in last, preceded by Connecticut (a high-salary state), Florida, Louisiana, and Maryland.

And since surveys show that a long commute can affect job satisfaction, WalletHub also considered how long employees spend traveling to and from work. Employees out West have the shortest commutes, with South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, and Wyoming topping the list. Meanwhile, both Maryland (a bottom-five state for job satisfaction) and New York tie for longest commute, followed by New Jersey, Massachusetts (a high-salary state), and Illinois.

Sounds like as good an excuse as any to pack up and move to Hawaii (No. 4 in most job opportunities!).