“Least hardworking” is sort like saying “most hungry,” because in polite society you don’t utter words like “lazy” or “obese.” But “lazy” is exactly the ruling from WalletHub’s latest study, which ranked New Mexico the least hardworking state in the country.
Texas, by comparison, ranked 5th, Colorado 13th, Utah 14th, and Arizona 36th.
This isn’t the first WalletHub study dogging on The Land of Enchantment.
In June it ranked New Mexico the worst place to live, in March we came in first in federal dependency, and other studies have ranked New Mexico 46th in gambling addiction, 47th in wealth, 49th in charitable contributions, and a humbling 51st in post-COVID economic recovery.
But unlike some past studies, the impressively comprehensive methodology used to calculate the “hardest working” states made it difficult to argue against. WalletHub weighed average hours worked per week, employment rate, households with no working adults, unused vacation time, worker engagement (per a Gallup survey), “idle youth” (those 18–24 not in school or working), and to a lesser extend commute time, multiple jobs worked, volunteer hours, and leisure time.
New Mexico doesn’t need raw data and scientific number-crunching to tell us what most of us know intuitively: A killer work ethic just wasn’t in the cards when God made New Mexico.
Which is why the Land of Enchantment is colloquially known as The Land of Mañana. We’re so enchanted with our land that work sometimes takes a back seat. And besides, it’s hot, I’m alll tired, and there’s cervezas in the cooler.
This of course doesn’t mean New Mexico “sucks,” as some will claim, nor does pointing out the findings of the study mean that the messenger “hates” New Mexico (as is often the retort to any bad news about the state).
That New Mexico culture happens to be the slowest in the country now doesn’t mean we’ll be last forever. State leaders looking to seize the day could take a solid chunk out of New Mexico’s carpe mañana attitude by curbing overgenerous unemployment insurance and ending free or subsidized health care, college, and child care for residents who don’t need it.
New Mexicans may enjoy stopping to smell the prickly pears, but if the state offers people more for doing less, we’re preying on our own unmotivated nature, and at our own prickly peril.