Cities With the Most Content (and Miserable) Workers

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5. Fort Smith, Ark.- Okla.
> Work environment index score: 56.4
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 91.5% (85th lowest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 59.2% (15th lowest)
> Pct. with college degree: 15.8% (24th lowest)
> Median household income: $36,061 (9th lowest)

Residents of the Fort Smith metro area were more likely to say their supervisors provided a trusting environment than Americans anywhere else, with 88.2% saying so in the last year. Nearly 92% were also satisfied with their jobs, more than the vast majority of metro areas reviewed by Gallup. Job satisfaction, however, does not seem to be connected with high incomes in Fort Smith, where a typical household earned just $36,061 in 2012, among the lowest nationwide. Additionally, it did not seem to have much bearing on how people rated other elements of their lives. Fort Smith residents rated their present lives and their future expectations lower than residents anywhere else in the U.S. More than 17% of the workforce in Fort Smith were employed in the manufacturing sector, compared with slightly more than 10% of workers nationwide.

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4. Naples-Marco Island, Fla.
> Work environment index score: 57.8
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 96.7% (the highest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 64.6% (80th highest)
> Pct. with college degree: 31.0% (88th highest)
> Median household income: $54,126 (81st highest)

Naples residents reported feeling less stressed than those in any other metro area reviewed by Gallup, with more than 70% reporting no stress during the majority of the previous day last year. Low stress levels in the area may be due to a healthy work environment and a relatively good job market. Nearly 64% of respondents thought their supervisors treated them like an equal, compared with just 56.6% nationwide. The area unemployment rate was less than 6.0% in December of that year, much lower than the national unemployment rate of 6.7%.

3. Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.
> Work environment index score: 58.2
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 93.5% (11th highest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 71.8% (7th highest)
> Pct. with college degree: 44.7% (13th highest)
> Median household income: $55,890 (63rd highest)

Like many of the cities where workers are satisfied, residents of the Fort Collins metro area are well educated, with nearly 45% of adults 25 years and older having at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2012. Much of the work in the area demands high skills and education. This may translate, for many residents, into intellectually stimulating work. Nearly 72% of residents said they learned something new daily, more than all but six metro areas. The area is home to a large number of high-tech manufacturers, as well as Colorado State University, a major research institution. Overall, more than 90% of Fort Collins respondents were satisfied with their jobs, among the highest rates in the U.S.

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2. Lincoln, Neb.
> Work environment index score: 58.7
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 90.8% (43rd lowest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 69.8% (16th highest)
> Pct. with college degree: 35.9% (41st highest)
> Median household income: $50,668 (126th highest)

More than 91% of Lincoln inhabitants said they were satisfied with their jobs last year, the 12th-highest percentage in the nation. Additionally, nearly 64% of respondents felt treated like a partner at work, higher than in all but a handful of other metro areas. Like many of the cities where workers are satisfied, the area is home to a major research university. Lincoln is home to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which spent a quarter-billion dollars on research and development in fiscal 2012 and had more than 8,000 employees as of 2013. The area’s job market was excellent as of December last year, with an unemployment rate of just 3.3%.

1. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif.
> Work environment index score: 59.1
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 92.7% (35th highest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 73.3% (4th highest)
> Pct. with college degree: 33.5% (59th highest)
> Median household income: $60,264 (36th highest)

San Luis Obispo residents evaluated their work experiences better than residents in any other metro area. Nearly nine in 10 area residents were satisfied with their jobs last year. This may be due in part to the fact that respondents believed their lives were filled with interesting experiences and intellectual growth. More than 73% of respondents said they learned something new or interesting the previous day, more than in all but three other metro areas. Additionally contributing to residents’ high ratings of their workplace, more than 88% said they utilized their strengths at work and more than 67% felt treated like a partner, both among the highest rates in the country. Workers were also relatively well-paid, with a median household income of $60,264 in 2012, well above the national median of $51,371 that year.

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