? Cyrielle Beaubois—Getty Images
By Cassidy Rush / PayScale
July 22, 2016

Ah. New Jersey. The Garden State. Home to Bruce Springsteen, Gov. Chris Christie, and the most pessimistic population of workers in these United States. That is, according to a new report by PayScale, in which we surveyed over 425,000 workers to find out where the most pessimistic workers are. Let’s dig into the data and see if we can understand why New Jersey workers are feeling so down in the dumps about their employers.

But first, before we examine what might be ailing these workers, we should establish that Jersey workers are not the only ones who feel negatively about the future of their employers. Coming in next are Wyoming, West Virginia, and Arkansas. We also used the data from the survey to understand what job titles, in general, have the most pessimistic workers. Note that these job titles are not specific to any state. Here is what we found.

What’s Up With the Pessimism in New Jersey?

In our survey, we asked respondents how strongly they agreed with the following statement: “I am confident my employer has a bright future.” More New Jersey workers voted “strongly disagree” than any other state. Although we don’t have any data to support exactly why NJ workers feel so down, here are some possible and completely unscientific potential explanations:

New Jersey’s Economy Has Been (and Still Is) Tanking

“…New Jersey remains a lost soul in the nation: It is one of just three states that saw more people falling into poverty than rising above it,” writes Michael L. Diamond at Asbury Park Press.

The state’s job growth rate is the second lowest in the nation, just above Alaska, Diamond notes, citing a report that found that New Jersey added just 558 jobs per month on average between August 2013 and August 2014.

Read More: Help! I Don’t Want to Be a Manager

Many Long-Time New Jersey Employers Have Left the State

High corporate taxes and a relatively high cost of living mean trying economic conditions for New Jersey employers. Many have recently departed for easier environments. Some of the latest large-sized companies to make the move include Hertz and Mercedes Benz.

People Are Fleeing New Jersey Faster Than Any Other State

According to NJ.com, more than two million people left New Jersey between 2005 and 2014. In 2013, the country led the nation in outbound moves; of the total number of moves, 63.5 percent were outbound, while 36.5 percent were inbound.

Read More: Job Rejection 101: What NOT to Do, When You Don’t Get the Job

Bottom Line

While we can’t say for sure why more New Jersey workers feel pessimistic about their employers’ future, the combination of slow job growth, a tough business environment, and a high cost of living can’t boost their optimism. Given the facts, it would be hard for many workers to say that they felt their employers had a bright future.

Read Next: 5 Ways to Be Happier at Work (Without a Big Raise or an Awesome New Boss)

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