The States With the Best and Worst Economies

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6. Hawaii
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: +1.5% (23rd largest increase)
> 2017 GDP: $75.5 billion (13th smallest)
> June 2018 Unemployment: 2.1% (the lowest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: +1.2% (19th largest increase)

Hawaii is an expensive place to live. With its idyllic location driving up property values, Hawaii has the most expensive real estate in the country. However, it also has one of the most affluent populations in the country. The median household income of $74,511 a year is close to $17,000 higher than the national median income. The state also benefits from a strong job market. As of June, the state had the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at just 2.1%. Also, just 3.5% of the state’s population lacks health insurance, second lowest of any state and far less than the national uninsured rate of 8.6%.

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7. Minnesota
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: +1.7% (14th largest increase)
> 2017 GDP: $305.6 billion (17th largest)
> June 2018 Unemployment: 3.1% (12th lowest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: +1.2% (20th largest increase)

Low-income Americans are far less likely to have disposable income, and states with lower poverty rates benefit from having more residents who are able to spend more on goods and services. Minnesota’s poverty rate of 9.9% is tied with Alaska for the fifth lowest in the country.

Minnesota also has the third highest homeownership rate in the country, at 71.3%, compared to a national homeownership rate of 63.1%, a sign of high financial stability among residents.

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8. California
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: +2.9% (2nd largest increase)
> 2017 GDP: $2.4 trillion (the largest)
> June 2018 Unemployment: 4.2% (tied — 18th highest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: +2.2% (8th largest increase)

California’s economy grew at an annual rate of 2.9% from 2012 through 2017, the second fastest pace of any state. The largest source of growth was the state’s information industry, which includes tech giants of silicon valley such as Apple, Google, and Facebook. However, compared to most of the highest ranked state economies, California’s unemployment rate is relatively high, at 4.2%, compared to a national unemployment rate of 3.8%.

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9. Idaho
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: +2.4% (6th largest increase)
> 2017 GDP: $62.6 billion (10th smallest)
> June 2018 Unemployment: 2.9% (tied — 7th lowest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: +2.4% (4th largest increase)

States with relatively affluent populations tend to prosper. Among the states with the 10 highest ranked economies, Idaho is the only one with a median household income that trails the national median. The typical state household has an income of $51,807 a year, compared to a national median household income of $57,617.

However, the state makes up for its low incomes by ranking among the best states in the country in GDP and employment growth, as well as by having one of the lower unemployment rates in the country. Between 2012 and 2017, state GDP and employment each grew at an average annual rate of well over 2%. The state’s 2.9% unemployment rate is nearly a full percentage point below the national rate of 3.8%.

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10. Maryland
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: +1.2% (19th smallest increase)
> 2017 GDP: $341.2 billion (15th largest)
> June 2018 Unemployment: 4.3% (tied — 13th highest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: +0.9% (16th smallest increase)

In measures of economic growth and job market health, Maryland only ranks average compared to other states. However, due to he relative affluence of its population, the state ranks among the 10 best economies. The state’s median household income of $78,945 a year is the highest of all states and more than $21,000 higher than the national median. The state is also one of just six to report a poverty rate below 10%.

Maryland’s population is also one of the better educated in the country, which helps explain the state’s high incomes, and also is a sign of the general financial stability of its residents. Just under 40% of the state’s adult population has a bachelor’s degree, the third highest share among states.