The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) announced the results of its bi-annual nationwide study of the costs of workers’ compensation programs for 2016. The study findings are generally released in the fall of each even-numbered year, in summary form. A full report, including detailed data and notes on methodology, is released several months later. Oregon has been doing these studies in even-numbered years since 1986.
DCBS surveys insurance regulators and workers’ compensation rating bureaus in each of the 50 states plus Washington, D.C., for rate information, as of Jan. 1 of the study year.
The study is based on methods that put states’ workers’ compensation rates on a comparable basis, using a constant set of risk classifications for each state. This study used classification codes from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). Of approximately 450 active classes in Oregon, 50 were selected based on relative importance as measured by share of losses in Oregon. To control for differences in industry distributions, each state’s rates were weighted by 2010-2012 Oregon payroll to obtain an average manual rate for that state. Listed in Table 1 of the study are Oregon’s rankings in the top 10 (by payroll) of the 50 classifications used.
According to the study, California once again is the worst state in the union in terms of costs. It ranks at 176% of the study median. It is a good distance away from the second highest state, New Jersey, which ranks 158% of the study median. Rounding off the worst five, third worst is New York at 154%, Connecticut is the fourth worst at at 149%, and fifth is Alaska also at 149%.
On the other end of the spectrum, North Dakota was the lowest cost at 48% of the study median, followed by Indiana at 57%, Arkansas at 58%, West Virginia at 66%, and Virginia at 67% of the study median.
Workers Compensation costs are not the only indicator of concern. California also has the distinction of being the absolute worst in other areas of importance to business.
Between 2008 and 2015 at least 9,000 companies have left California for a better business environment, according to the 378 page study by Spectrum Location Solutions titled, California’s Forty Year Legacy of Hostility to Business.
Joseph Vranich, president of site selection consultants Spectrum Location Solutions (VLS) in Irvine, places the blame on the Golden State’s “hostile” business environment.
The 2015 Chief Executive Magazine annual survey of business climates was completed by 511 CEOs across the U.S. States were measured across three key categories to achieve their overall ranking: Taxes and regulations, quality of the workforce, and living environment, which includes such considerations as quality of education, cost of living, affordable housing, social amenities and crime rates.
For the 11th year in a row, Chief Executive Magazine found California to be the “worst state for business in 2015.” This placement is not “near the worst” but actually “THE WORST” ranked as 50 out of 50, the lowest rank possible for each of 11 years. CEO’s comments include: “California could hardly do more to discourage business if that was the goal.” “The state regulates and taxes companies unreasonably.” “California is getting worse, if that is even possible.”
Well, yes that is possible. Yet another national study continues to place California at the absolute bottom in the eyes of business officials.