HourVoice analyzed a bunch of enforcement data (over 226,000 cases) from the Wage & Hour Division of the Department of Labor, and this post kicks off a series of reports from that examination. The dataset covers investigations from 2008 to July of this year.

First up – in which states are workers most likely to be a victim of wage theft? We measure that in terms of Employees Violated per 1,000 population, and the winner is Arkansas, punching far above its weight class with 46 employees screwed per 1,000 residents (the raw numbers are 138,000 employees in a population of just under 3 million). And which mega corporation is headquartered there? Walmart, contributing 90,884 employee-violations to Arkansas’s total.

Employees Violated Per 1,00 Population


The next worst state is Mississippi, with 33 employees per 1,000. Now, to be fair to Arkansas (but without letting Walmart off the hook), most of those workers live outside of Arkansas. So, it’s a little deceptive. But even if you remove Walmart’s wage theft “contribution,” Arkansas still scores 15.9 employees screwed per 1,000 residents, well over the national average of 9.5.