We've had it pretty easy so far this season, but winter can be a trying time to be a Minnesotan. Between the subzero temps, slushy roads and endless shoveling, sometimes we need a reminder of why the heck we stick around this frozen tundra anyway.
Let this recent study be a source of comfort. According to 24/7 Wall Street, Minnesota is the best-run state in America.
For the eighth year in a row, the "financial news and opinion company" reviewed economic indicators, budget allocations and balance sheets, in addition to a range of social measures to rank how well each state is run.
After years of climbing steadily in the ranks (Minnesota was no. 10 in 2012, and came in second last year), the Land of 10,000 Lakes came out on top for 2017. Utah came in at no. 2, followed by Iowa, Oregon and Washington.
Meanwhile, Louisiana, New Mexico, Mississippi, Alabama and Pennsylvania were ranked as the five worst-run states by the study.
Here's why 24/7 Wall Street gave our state the no. 1 spot.
Unemployment is down
Minnesota had the 13th-lowest unemployment rate in 2016 at 3.9 percent, the study said.
Recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show it's even lower than that now. As of October 2017, the unemployment rate was 3.3 percent – the lowest it has been since 2000.
According to the governor's office, Minnesota's unemployment rate has been at or below 4 percent for 40-straight months.
Wages have risen
Wallet 24/7 calls Minnesota a "relatively wealthy state."
That's because the median household income of $65,599 in Minnesota is about $8,000 more than the median income nationwide.
And at 9.9 percent, Minnesota has the sixth-lowest poverty rate in the country, the study says.
High taxes help
Taxes are high in Minnesota compared to other states – about $4,400 a year per resident – but the study implies that's to our benefit.
"In Minnesota, higher tax revenue means the government can save more," 24/7 Wall Street says. "The state has saved the equivalent of 10.3 percent of its annual spending in a rainy day fund – more than most states and greater than the 8.2 percent average across states."
A recent study by Minnesota Public Radio found that 60 percent of Minnesotans believe they get a good value for the taxes they pay. More than 80 percent said they’re more hopeful than fearful about what lies ahead for Minnesota.
The study also cites Minnesota’s near-perfect credit rating from Moody’s, and our currently stable long-term outlook.
In a news release, the governor says his administration "has worked hard to make state government work better for the people of Minnesota."
"And we're not done yet," Dayton added.
“Next session, I will urge the Legislature to work with me to protect the long-term fiscal stability of our state, which is essential for Minnesota’s future. Working together, I know we can deliver even better services, and better value, for the people of Minnesota."
While 24/7 Wall Street paints a rosy picture of Minnesota's financial situation it was probably compiled too late to factor in the state is now projecting a budget deficit of $188 million in the next two years.