This state has the happiest employees

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Employees in the North Star state may just be some of the happiest at their jobs, according to a new survey from The Conference Board, an independent research association.

The association’s survey of more than 1,500 employees from across the United States found that 58.2% of respondents in Minnesota were highly satisfied with their jobs, outpacing Texas (56%) by roughly two percentage points.

The unemployment rate is currently at 3.9% and the association estimates that this number will dip close to 3.5% in 2019. A tighter labor market lends itself to higher job satisfaction and overall, just over half of all workers surveyed (51%) say they were happy with their jobs in 2017.

"In 2019, we forecast unemployment to dip close to 3.5%, a low rate not seen since the 1960s," Gad Levanon, a report author and chief economist for North America at the Conference Board says in a statement. "As a result, we can expect employers to continue reducing educational requirements in the hiring process, leading to fewer workers feeling overqualified in their jobs, which further raises their job satisfaction."

In Minnesota, the job market is even tighter, with workers experiencing significant wage gains and the association says this could contribute to the high rate of job satisfaction in the state.

As far as the states that were at the bottom of the list, Arkansas and Mississippi ranked the lowest for job satisfaction with only 39.9% of employees happy with their jobs. The association says this could be related to low per capita income in the state, which is tied to job satisfaction.

Employees were also less satisfied in the Northeast in states like New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. In the South, South Carolina and Alabama also got low scores. These are all states with high numbers of Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries, and the association says, there is a relationship between labor force participation, state economic performance and disability rates.

The survey also lists some factors that contribute to workers happiness. Overall, people were most satisfied with their coworkers, commutes, work interests, supervisors and the physical environment at their jobs. They were least content with their job’s promotion policy, bonus plan, performance review process, educational programs and workload.

“As workers continue to voluntarily leave their jobs at a record rate, the need to prioritize components relating to their professional development could not come at a more pressing time,” says Rebecca L. Ray, a report author and executive vice-president at the Conference Board.

As the labor market tightens, Ray says, “companies must make a bigger commitment to addressing the factors within their control.”

Overall, employers are getting somewhat better at gauging worker satisfaction. A number of new technologies have hit the market over the last couple of years that allow companies to better gauge what’s irking their workers. These types of instant-feedback systems can make it easier for employers to address anything that might not be going well in the office.

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