A reader put our "google-fu' to a serious test with this question: "I am very interested to know if there is a free website or publication that will show a side-by-side cost comparison showing all 50 states' workers' comp insurance rates for the employer. I want to see which states have less expensive rates."
After some searching, we found a 2004 Workers Compensation Premium Rate Ranking Summary (PDF) put out by Oregon's Department of Consumer and Business Services. Apparently, this snapshot is issued every two years. It includes a color-coded map and a chart that offers more detailed information, such as the 2002 rates so that you can learn if a state is trending up or down. California, Alaska, and Florida have the dubious distinctions of having the highest rates; they are the only three jurisdictions that exceed $4.00 per $100 of payroll. There are 9 states with premium rates less than $2.00 per $100 in premium. Ranked from lowest to highest, these include North Dakota, Indiana, Arizona, Arkansas, Virginia, Utah, Massachusetts, Kansas, and Iowa.
We invite readers who know of other free resources comparing the 50 states to post them in the comments.
Credit where credit is due: we came by this link from another Northwest source - the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO issues a daily news headline aggregator for local, state, and national news of interest to organized labor. It's a good resource for tracking employment-related issues.