A recent report looking at the best states to work in doesn't show the Mountain West in a particularly good light. Only one state in our region ranked in the top half.
Researchers looked at three key policy areas to determine overall rankings: wages, worker protections and rights to organize.
Mary Babic co-authored the study, and says good scores in these policy areas generally translate to more positive economic and health indicators.
"That ranged from infant mortality rates to median household income to unemployment rates to poverty rates," she says. "So it does seem that where states have more robust worker protections in place, people are doing better and there's less poverty."
Babic says she hopes state lawmakers and the public take this information to advocate for more worker protections. But ultimately, she hopes the federal government will lead the way.
"This stuff is really important to workers, and we want states and localities to take that into account and start to consider some of these laws," Babic says. "And on a federal level, it's really time to stop the states having to create this patchwork of local conditions."
Babic says she expects some states in our region, like Nevada, to score better on next year's report, due to legislative actions that took place earlier this year.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.