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Hardest Working States Listed, Job Market Outlook Unveiled

With Americans working an average of over 1,800 hours per year and having left 55 percent of their PTO, paid time off, unused last year, the personal-finance website WalletHub has released its report on 2023’s Hardest-Working States in America, as well as expert commentary.

In order to determine where Americans work the hardest, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 10 key metrics. The data set ranges from average workweek hours to share of workers with multiple jobs to annual volunteer hours per resident.


Top 20 Hardest-Working States in America

North Dakota claimed the top spot on the list, following by Alaska, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, Kansas and Hawaii rounding out the top 10. Maryland came in at number 11 and the rest of the top 20 included Iowa, Georgia, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi and Louisiana. California came in at number 35 on the list.


Key Stats

Alaska has the longest hours worked per week, 41, which is 11 percent longer than in Utah, the state with the shortest at 37.

New York has the longest average commute time, 33 minutes, which is 1.8 times longer than in South Dakota, the state with the shortest at 18 minutes.

Mississippi has the highest share of workers leaving vacation time unused, 34.70 percent, which is 1.6 times higher than in Ohio, the state with the lowest at 21.90 percent.

Montana has the highest share of workers with multiple jobs, 8.00 percent, which is 2.4 times higher than in Florida, the state with the lowest at 3.30 percent.

To view the full report and your state’s rank, visit:


Expert Commentary

What impact do you believe AI will have on the American worker?

“As with any technology, AI will have both labor-replacement and labor-enhancing effects. As AI is developed and deployed in various ways, some existing jobs will certainly be eliminated. However, AI can also enhance labor productivity for other jobs and may even create new types of employment opportunities. Computers changed our labor market in similar ways, reducing the need to employ people for simple computational or administrative tasks, enhancing the productivity of most office workers, and creating entirely new industries that employ a huge portion of our workforce. AI is likely to be just as disruptive, and while it is easy to imagine the jobs it may replace in the future, it is harder to imagine the jobs it will create or enhance. I think our responsibility for the near future is to make the impact as painless and productive as possible. We can do this by making sure, as a country, we take advantage of the new opportunities AI may produce as well as provide re-education opportunities for those workers that are displaced by this new technology.”

Samantha M. Schenck, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Central Connecticut State University


“Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most significant threat facing working people today. From the birth of ChatGPT to the next generation of AI tools, including Midjourney, Grammarly, Descript, etc., AI is replacing the work traditionally done by people at a fast pace. There are many areas that AI has already penetrated, such as content generation, video creation, image generation, research, 3D modeling, automation, etc. Skilled workers in these fields face potential threats of being replaced by AI tools, and we have already seen the trend start. The challenges that come with AI also embrace opportunities. With the better help of AI tools, increased efficiency, enhanced decision-making, personalization, and big data analysis and predictive analytics become possible. Therefore, how to utilize AI tools for the best results becomes a critical issue.”

Tongyang Yang, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Widener University


What are the main changes in the job market in 2023 and how will they impact employee engagement?

“There still seems to be quite a bit of uncertainty around the overall state of the US economy. Some still predict a recession. Some have predicted a ‘soft landing’ post-pandemic to avoid a recession. As Boomers continue to retire and members of the smaller GenX cohort cannot fill jobs requiring more experience, younger generations (GenY and GenZ) will have opportunities to take on more complex jobs at younger ages than previous cohorts. The impact of AI adoption will also force companies to look for different skill sets. For the last 40 years, the US education system has emphasized STEM skills. That focus has created the technologies that will render many technical skills obsolete. What some have derisively called ‘soft skills’ – critical thinking, communication, teamwork, and the like – are now the skills in most demand. These ‘soft skills’ are now the ‘durable skills’ that AI will not replace. That trend will increase over the next few years.”

Anthony R. Wheeler, Ph.D. – Dean, School of Business Administration, Widener University


“I see two main changes in 2023. One is that we can expect employers to demand their employees return to their offices or workplaces, and work from home will decrease. Second, many people will try to return to work since their savings are diminishing and the need for income is increasing. And, so far, we have seen many new entries into the labor market. However, let’s not forget the Fed’s current policies and a potential slowdown in the labor market.”

Miren Ivankovic – Adjunct Professor, Clemson University


Do you believe job conditions are on the rise in the U.S.? What measures should authorities undertake in order to better protect workers?

“Right now, because US unemployment remains historically low despite a year of prognosticators warning of an imminent recession, employers continue to fiercely compete for talent. Workers have seen their negotiation power increase not just on salary but also on working conditions. Better schedules, better work spaces, more flexible work-from-home opportunities, higher signing bonuses, and the like have all increased for American workers. At some point, with the uneven adoption of AI, governments will need to grapple with how to help displaced workers. No one wants to talk about universal basic income, but at some point, we will see governments at all levels experiment with these types of programs. As we currently see with the writers’ strike in Hollywood, the current environment is also ripe for union organization, which can help protect employees.”

Anthony R. Wheeler, Ph.D. – Dean, School of Business Administration, Widener University