By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming has been ranked as one of the worst states to work in during the pandemic, according to a report by Oxfam America.
Wyoming ranked 49th of 52 states and territories (the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were included in the report) in the analysis of Best States to Work In conducted by Oxfam, which describes itself as a “global organization working to end the injustice of poverty.”
Wyoming came in just below Mississippi, but higher than Georgia, Missouri and Alabama, respectively. Washington state, New Jersey and California took the three top spots in the ranking, respectively.
The nonprofit organization analyzed how the states stepped in to protect workers and provide them with access to health care and unemployment support during the period from Feb. 15 to July 1.
Wyoming ranked poorly in all three areas, according to the study.
In the area of protections for workers, which Oxfam said includes protections from being forced to return to work during the pandemic and providing child cared for essential workers, Wyoming scored 16.7 points out of a possible 100 for a 48th place ranking.
Oxfam ranked health care based on how well states stepped in to make sure their citizens had access to health care even if they lost their jobs during the pandemic.
Wyoming, with a score of 40, tied with five other states for 38th place nationally — Kansas, Nevada, Texas, Indiana and Pennsylvania.
For unemployment support, the analysis looked at whether states made it easier for those without jobs to obtain benefits and whether the states took steps to aid the unemployed such as imposing a moratorium on evictions or utility shutoffs.
Wyoming placed 45th nationally with a score of 24.7.
Researchers noted in the report that although the states fluctuate on their policies for unemployment, health care and worker protections, no state came close to having a perfect score.
“All the states — even those with the highest scores — have room for improvement,” the report said.
Oxfam’s recommendations at the end of the report included expanding Medicaid, increasing unemployment payments and improving worker protections.