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Here are the 10 best US states for working people

If you’re a hard worker with marketable skills, you’ve never been in greater demand than right now.

With 5 million more job openings in the United States than there are workers to fill them, companies are desperate for talent. And increasingly they are willing to go where the workers are.

“Labour is always the most important factor, whether it’s a manufacturing plant, a corporate office, or something creative in the arts,” said Tom Stringer , managing director in charge of the national site selection practice at BDO in New York. .

In the latest CNBC CFO Council survey, respondents overwhelmingly cited labor as the most important factor in deciding where to locate or expand operations. It’s also the most cited selling point among states looking to attract business, according to CNBC’s 2022 America’s Top States for Business study. Thus, according to our methodology, it has the most weight in our overall ranking.

To determine which states have the best workforce, we look at a variety of factors, including the percentage of workers with a college degree, the concentration of high-tech workers, as well as workers with an associate’s degree. and industry-recognized certificates. We also consider right-to-work laws protecting employees who refuse to join a union, as well as state worker training programs and the net migration of college-educated workers.

“Everyone is looking for an edge,” said Cara Christopher, senior vice president of Lightcast, a labor market data company that provided talent attraction data for the CNBC study. “Communities that do this well consider both attraction and development efforts.”

In 2022, these ten states win the talent war.

10.Maryland

PhD student Genesis Fuentes watches a mock encounter at the University of Maryland’s Lab for Applied Social Science Research, where they are developing virtual reality in police de-escalation training, in College Park, MD.

Bill O’Leary | The Washington Post | Getty Images

The Old Line State has a tech talent line, with the second-highest concentration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers after Washington, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state is looking to build on that success with Maryland STEM Connect, connecting parents, students, and educators to the region’s many federal agencies and military bases.

2022 squad note: 257 points out of 410 (Top States Grade: B+)

Net migration ranking: No. 28

Adults with a baccalaureate or higher: 40.9%

Professional Studies diploma : 13.4%

STEM workers: 10.1%

State of the right to work? Nope

9. Oregon

University of Oregon Lillis Business Complex building on campus in Eugene Oregon.

Don and Melinda Crawford | Education Pictures | Universal Image Group | Getty Images

With American workers on the move, The Beaver State is a big beneficiary. The Census Bureau estimates that college-educated workers moving to the state outnumber those leaving by nearly two to one. WorkSource Oregon is a statewide partnership between the Oregon Department of Employment and state and local nonprofits to retrain workers and connect them with employers .

2022 squad note: 259 points out of 410 (Top States Grade: B+)

Net migration ranking: No. 8

Adults with a baccalaureate or higher: 34.4%

Professional Studies diploma : 15.8%

STEM workers: 7.5%

State of the right to work? Nope

8.Utah

A man walks past the Salt Lake Temple, a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Temple Square, Salt Lake City.

Rick Bowmer | PA

The Beehive State gets its nickname from the hard work of its workers, and that trait really pays off these days. The vibrant tech scene in the growing Silicon Slopes area near Salt Lake City is attracting many STEM workers. But Utah is also big on career education, with a strong community college system. The state is slipping in the rankings this year because its unemployment rate — the second-lowest in the nation — is limiting the pool of available workers.

2022 squad note: 269 ​​out of 410 points (Top State Grade: A-)

Net migration ranking: No. 33

Adults with a baccalaureate or higher: 34.7%

Professional Studies diploma : 20.5%

STEM workers: 7.6%

State of the right to work? Yes

7.Arizona

Historic Route 66. This road originally connected Chicago (Illinois) to Los Angeles (California) between 1926 and 1985. The highway no longer has an official existence but remains one of the most famous roads in ‘America.

Andy | Universal Image Group | Getty Images

Educated workers are flocking to the Grand Canyon State, making Arizona’s workforce smarter. Labor market data firm Lightcast says the average education level in the state has jumped 16% in the past five years, one of the biggest increases in the country. The state also has a pool of ready workers with two-year degrees and certificates. But Arizona’s workforce development program, known as [email protected], has had mixed results in getting participants back into the workforce.

2022 squad note: 273 out of 410 points (Top State Grade: A-)

Net migration ranking: #3

Adults with a baccalaureate or higher: 30.3%

Professional Studies diploma : 23.8%

STEM workers: 6.5%

State of the right to work? Yes

6. Florida

Students walking outside the Chemistry and Physics building at Florida International University.

Jeff Greenberg | Universal Image Group | Getty Images

The Census Bureau estimates that about 200,000 college graduates have moved to Florida in the past five years, while only about half that number remains. As a percentage, this is the highest level of migration in the country. The state makes up for a relative lack of tech workers by providing a ready supply of employees with industry-recognized certificates. “They’re focused. They have a strong workforce development program,” said Cara Christopher of Lightcast, who praised the state’s partnerships with colleges and universities.

2022 squad note: 274 out of 410 points (Top State Grade: A-)

Net migration ranking: No. 1

Adults with a baccalaureate or higher: 30.5%

Professional Studies diploma : 21.4%

STEM workers: 5%

State of the right to work? Yes

5.Delaware

Bottling station at the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Delaware.

Loop Images | Universal Image Group | Getty Images

Delaware workers are among the most productive in the country, accounting for about $140,218 in economic output per job last year. That’s according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the US Department of Commerce. The state offers strong worker training programs. And with unemployment above the national average, there are plenty of people here to hire.

2022 squad note: 277 out of 410 points (Top State Grade: A-)

Net migration ranking: No. 23

Adults with a baccalaureate or higher: 32.7%

Professional Studies diploma : 13.3%

STEM workers: 7.2%

State of the right to work? Nope

4.Washington

The Microsoft Headquarters Campus Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington.

Stephen Brashear | Getty Images

No state offers a greater concentration of STEM employees than Washington. It’s a long-standing priority at The Evergreen State. In 2013, the state legislature created the Washington State STEM Education Innovation Alliance. Led by the governor’s office, the alliance brings together leaders from labor, education, government, and nonprofit organizations to advance STEM education starting in kindergarten.

2022 squad note: 282 points out of 410 (Top State Grade: A)

Net migration ranking: No. 2

Adults with a baccalaureate or higher: 36.7%

Professional Studies diploma : 21.7%

STEM workers: 10.2%

State of the right to work? Nope

3. Georgia

Downtown Atlanta, photographed from the Jackson Street Bridge in Atlanta, Georgia.

Raymond Boyd | Michael Ochs Archives | Getty Images

The Peach State is a leader in worker training. The state’s workforce development program, WorkSource Georgia, is a network of 19 local WorkSource offices overseen by the state’s technical college system. Localized orientation is a key aspect of the state’s efforts to align its workforce with business needs, and it seems to be working. According to data from the US Department of Labor, Georgia ranks 4th in a key measure of workforce development: moving adults from training to employment.

2022 squad note: 297 points out of 410 (Top State Grade: A+)

Net migration ranking: No. 7

Adults with a baccalaureate or higher: 32.2%

Professional Studies diploma : 21.4%

STEM workers: 6%

State of the right to work? Yes

2.Texas

A giant cowboy boot is displayed outside the Tesla Giga Texas manufacturing plant during the ‘Cyber ​​Rodeo’ grand opening party on April 7, 2022 in Austin, Texas.

Suzanne Cordeiro | AFP | Getty Images

Skilled workers are heading to the Lone Star State in droves. And when they do, they work hard. Texas is in the top ten for labor productivity, with $139,549 in economic output per job last year. With an unemployment rate above the national average, employers have many industrious workers to choose from.

2022 squad note: 299 points out of 410 (Top State Grade: A+)

Net migration ranking: #3

Adults with a baccalaureate or higher: 30.7%

Professional Studies diploma : 16.3%

STEM workers: 6.6%

State of the right to work? Yes

1. Colorado

Denver Public School’s Now Hiring sign posted in front of Bromwell Elementary School in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.

Hyoung Chang | Denver Post | Getty Images

The centennial state has the second most educated workforce in the nation behind Massachusetts. And these smart workers stay put. While some other states suffer from a brain drain, Colorado only loses about 10,000 graduate workers a year, far fewer than those who migrate there. Although it is not technically a right-to-work state in which employees cannot be fired for refusing to join a union, the state does provide some protections to non-union workers under of what he calls a “hybrid” system.

2022 squad note: 302 out of 410 points (Top State Grade: A+)

Net migration ranking: No. 11

Adults with a baccalaureate or higher: 36.7%

Professional Studies diploma : 41.6%

STEM workers: 9.2%

State of the right to work? Hybrid

Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion