Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

UMass Study Ranks Delaware First, Louisiana Last for Work Environment

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

UMass Study Ranks Delaware First, Louisiana Last for Work Environment

Article excerpt

BOSTON

Delaware ranked first and Louisiana last in a University of Massachusetts study that attempted to measure the quality of worker treatment, based on factors including job opportunities, job quality and workplace fairness.

After Louisiana, the next-lowest states were Texas and Arkansas. Three states, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah, were tied for fourth-worst.

The "Decent Work in America" study, released in October by UMass Amherst's Political Economy Research Institute, was based on a "work environment index" drawn from 2004 data. The data covered factors including average pay; job opportunities; employee benefits; percentage of low-income workers; fair treatment between genders; and ability for employees to unionize.

Those factors were used in ranking states on a scale of 1 to 100 for job opportunities, job quality and workplace fairness. Those three numbers were averaged to determine an overall score, with Delaware posting an 89 and Louisiana a 31.

Texas' next-to-last ranking drew criticism from the state's governor's office and from a Texas economic development official, who said the abundance of small states near the top of the rankings indicates the study criteria may be flawed.

"The top five states represent states with fairly small state economies that are not nearly as broad and complex as ours," says Carlton Schwab, president and chief executive of the Texas Economic Development Council, a private nonprofit association of economic development professionals. "They have a fraction of the economic activity that we have in our state. …

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