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Restaurants’ best and worst labor markets


A study of where new restaurants are most and least likely to be successful also reveals where startups and proven hits alike are facing the easiest and toughest times recruiting employees. 

But those rankings don’t directly correlate with the lists of the highest and lowest labor costs, according to the report.

The research by WalletHub shows recruitment to be easiest in Alaska and West Virginia, which are tied as the best from an employer’s standpoint. The others finishing in the top five are New Mexico, Nevada and Montana.

The most difficult place to recruit is Hawaii, where a limited population and the tourism economy keep the pool of candidates very shallow. Also ranking near the bottom, from Nos. 46 through 49, are Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado and New Hampshire.

Hawaii’s short supply of potential hires also makes it the nation’s second-most expensive labor market. In the No. 1 slot is Connecticut, and in third place is New Jersey, both of which sport high costs of living and competition from New York City. Housing and food costs also land Alaska within the top five, despite the depth of that state’s labor pool.

Wages and salaries are lowest in Mississippi, according to WalletHub, followed by Arkansas, West Virginia, Alabama and Kentucky. 

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