New study: NC once again the worst state in America for workers (chart)

It comes as no particular surprise (and likely as music to the ears of the far right, market fundamentalists who dominate North Carolina policy making), but caring and thinking people will be rightfully aghast at the latest assessment of the “Best and Worst States to Work in America 2021” from analysts at the global anti-poverty nonprofit, OxFam. The new rankings (see below) once again place North Carolina dead last based on three measurements: wages, worker protections and the right to organize.

This is from the introduction:

For the past four years, Oxfam America has produced a Best States to Work Index (BSWI), which tracks how states treat, protect, and pay workers. Formulated in 2017 and published for the first time in 2018, this index was born out of a vacuum left by inadequate federal agencies, static federal policies on wages, and the continued movement toward privatization. The BSWI focuses on how states are forced to address the failure of our national institutions to protect workers. The 2021 BSWI includes all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, ranking the states on a scale of best (No. 1) to worst (No. 52). It’s important to note that while this report uses the term “state” to refer to all localities, it is also used to refer to the District of Columbia (a federal district) and Puerto Rico (an unincorporated territory).

The ratings rank states on a scale from 0-100. Oregon scored the best with a ranking of 85.68. Here’s what the report had to say about the Tar Heel state (which fared even worse than last year):

North Carolina repeated its 2020 ranking of last place. North Carolina provides no support for workers’ rights to organize, does not exceed the federal minimum wage, and has very few worker protection policies. (Even Mississippi, ranked last in the 2019 BSWI, offers some mandates around rights to organize.) Not only did North Carolina once again rank 52 in our index, due to this year’s inclusion of the ratio of unemployment payments compared to cost of living, North Carolina’s composite score dropped below last year’s (from 6.55 to 6.19).

The report also ranked North Carolina 52nd out of 52 when it comes to “best states for working women.” Again, Oregon topped the list with a score of 95.36, while North Carolina came in with a woeful 3.60. Even Alabama and Mississippi did appreciably better. Again, this is from the report:

On the bottom end of the Best States for Working Women index, much like the overall index, are the southern states, where worker protection policies geared toward women in the workplace hardly exist, tipped wages are at the federal minimum of $2.13, and rights to organize are denied to workers, including public school teachers.

Importantly, the only state in the United States without an equal pay mandate is Mississippi, and all states that do not include any protections against sexual harassment in the workplace are in the South: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina. The relative consistency in rankings across our BSWI and the Best States for Working Women index underlines the fact that states that value women in the workplace value workers.

Click here to explore the report.

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Rob Schofield
Load More In News

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

Elections week continues at the state’s high court as justices weigh another appeal involving redistricting. The… [...]

It’s already known that hundreds of thousands of Americans would still be alive if every eligible… [...]

Laura Hogshead, director of the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, recently testified under oath before… [...]

More than 3,200 people have been exonerated since 1989. Over half of them are Black. Henry… [...]

North Carolina endured the wrath of yet another powerful hurricane last week. And while it comes… [...]

The post A constant storm… appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

While there are many disagreements in education policy, nearly all researchers agree that within the school… [...]

For nearly a decade, North Carolina has forgone billions of federal dollars, prevented the creation of… [...]


You may republish this article online or in print under our Creative Commons license. You may not edit or shorten the text, you must attribute the article to The Pulse and you must include the author’s name in your republication.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected]


Creative Commons License AttributionCreative Commons Attribution
New study: NC once again the worst state in America for workers (chart)