Cities With the Most Content (and Miserable) Workers

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5. Rockford, Ill.
> Work environment index score: 41.0
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 89.9 (15th lowest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 59.9% (23rd lowest)
> Pct. with college degree: 21.6% (118th lowest)
> Median household income: $50,647 (128th highest)

Survey respondents from the Rockford metro area rated their supervisors’ ability to create a trusting environment among the worst in the nation,. Just 72.3% reported a trusting and open workplace last year, less than in all but two other metro areas. Additionally, less than half of all residents said they felt treated like a partner at work, among the lowest in the U.S. The job market is relatively weak as well, with an unemployment rate of 11.5% in December 2013, one of the worst rates nationwide. Less than 60% of residents said they learned something new and interesting in the last 24 hours, also among the poorest assessments in the nation, and potentially related to low well-being in the workplace.

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4. New Haven-Milford, Conn.
> Work environment index score: 40.8
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 91.8 (85th highest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 62.9% (58th lowest)
> Pct. with college degree: 32.7% (66th highest)
> Median household income: $59,271 (43rd highest)

Almost 20% of respondents from New Haven said they did not use their strengths at work, more than all but three other metro areas reviewed. Supervisors in the region were also not regarded particularly well. Slightly more than 75% of residents thought their supervisor provided a trusting and open environment, among the poorest assessments in the nation. Additionally, only 52.5% of respondents felt their supervisor treated them like a partner, lower than the vast majority of metro areas. However, residents were relatively well-compensated. The median household income in New Haven was $59,271 in 2012, considerably higher than the national median of $51,371. Yet, survey respondents rated their lives a 6.7 on a scale of one to 10, lower than the vast majority of metro areas reviewed.

3. Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas
> Work environment index score: 39.8
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 92.0 (68th highest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 55.1% (3rd lowest)
> Pct. with college degree: 17.1% (39th lowest)
> Median household income: $43,421 (107th lowest)

Less than 49% of respondents from the Beaumont area said their supervisor treated them like a partner last year, much less than the nearly 57% of Americans who said so. The job market in the region is also struggling — the area’s unemployment rate was 9.4% in December, among the highest nationwide. Low income and poverty in Beaumont may be factors in poor workplace evaluations. A typical household in the area earned just $43,421, and more than 19% of residents lived below the poverty line in 2012. Beaumont had exceptionally poor rates of educational attainment, with just slightly more than 17% of area residents 25 and older having earned at least a bachelor’s degree in 2012, among the lowest rates in the nation.

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2. Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, N.Y.
> Work environment index score: 39.4
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 90.4 (34th lowest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 56.7% (6th lowest)
> Pct. with college degree: 29.7% (108th highest)
> Median household income: $66,612 (16th highest)

While residents of the Poughkeepsie metro area were well-off financially — median household income was $66,612 in 2012 — survey respondents still evaluated their work environments among the worst in the nation. Just 81.4% of residents said they were satisfied with their jobs last year, second-worst among all metro areas surveyed. This may have been due in part to relatively few opportunities to learn and grow at work. Just 56.7% of respondents said they learned something new or interesting on a regular basis, worse than all but a handful of metro areas.

1. Fayetteville, N.C.
> Work environment index score: 38.5
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 92.5 (45th highest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 58.1% (10th lowest)
> Pct. with college degree: 21.6% (118th lowest)
> Median household income: $44,823 (137th lowest)

Nowhere were respondents more likely to give negative evaluations of their workplace than in the Fayetteville area. While Fayetteville residents felt they were well-utilized at work, more than most Americans, survey respondents evaluated every other component of the workplace worse than those in nearly every other metro area. Just 46.3% thought their supervisors treated them like a partner, and 78.1% thought they were provided a trusting and open environment, both among the worst in the nation. Poor management in the metro area may have made it more difficult to learn and grow in the workplace. A relatively low percentage of residents said they learned something new and interesting on a daily basis last year, just over 58%, among the lowest rates.

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