Which U.S. States Have the Happiest Workforce?

by Deputy Team, 4 minutes read
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Which U.S. States Have the Happiest Workforce?

Title graphic for “Which U.S. States Have the Happiest Workforce?”

You might have heard that money can't buy happiness, but having a career you enjoy goes a long way toward a happy life and a positive outlook.

If you're like many Americans, you've changed careers and even industries multiple times in your search for employment nirvana, and you know how stressful the uncertainty can be. But considering the huge proportion of waking hours you dedicate to your job, it's well worth doing whatever it takes to ensure you're doing something you find meaningful and fulfilling.

With that in mind, we wanted to find the U.S. states with the happiest workforce. But we didn’t stop there. We also uncovered how to improve the happiness of teams like yours.

The Best States to Work In

Where does your state rank? Explore our heat map above to see which states have the happiest workforce. To come up with the scores, we surveyed full-time and part-time workers in each state and asked them various job satisfaction-related questions. Next, we assigned a score to each answer and added them up to get an overall happiness score. Then we took the average of those scores by state to determine a state score — and ranked the states accordingly. 

As you can see, Maryland, Georgia, and Minnesota came out on top, while states like Louisiana, California, and Utah ranked toward the lower end.

Improving the Workplace

Infographic displaying insights in regard to Americans’ happiness at work.

Although it's great to know which states have the happiest workforce, we wanted to dig deeper and identify what would make people happier in their jobs. 

Going back to the age-old adage that money can't buy happiness, it's clear from the responses that the vast majority of Americans (91.4%) beg to differ! A higher salary was the top response for improving workplace satisfaction, followed by better benefits and more paid time off. Who doesn't want that?

It's also interesting to note that many workers indicated they would benefit from simply reporting to a different manager. We all know how much of an impact a great manager can have on the work experience. After all, the quality of work culture starts from the top.

Speaking of higher salaries, there's nothing like a raise to make you feel valued and appreciated at work, but as you can see, Americans receive them with varying frequency or not at all!

The Best Benefits According to Americans

On the flip side of salary, it's clear from our study that Americans also value their benefits, but which benefits go the extra mile and give workers the warm fuzzies about their jobs?

To get a better idea, we asked respondents to share which benefits contributed most toward their job satisfaction. From ice cream to unlimited PTO, the responses were all over the map, but some common themes emerged.

Check out the interactive carousel above to see some of the best and unique benefits respondents currently receive from their employers. 

Closing Thoughts

No matter the job, the industry, or the state you work in, our study makes one thing abundantly clear: every worker wants to feel fairly compensated for their contribution to their company's success.

Whether it's in the form of higher salaries, better benefits, more vacation time, or unique perks like free ice cream Fridays, it's clear that employers need to understand the wants and needs of their employees to keep them happy, engaged, and productive.

At Deputy, we understand the importance of employee happiness. With our app, not only can you build schedules in minutes and give employees the flexibility they want: you can also see how happy your team is at work. With Deputy Shift Pulse, you can record how your team is feeling after every shift and get valuable feedback that can help you build a more positive, happy workplace.

Give Deputy a try for free today and take employee satisfaction to the next level!


To determine the states with the happiest workforces, Deputy surveyed more than 3,000 full-time and part-time American workers over two weeks in February 2023. We asked them questions about workplace happiness spanning subjects from satisfaction with benefits and work environment to how much they liked or disliked managers and coworkers.

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