To determine the states with the best and worst economies, 24/7 Wall St. ranked states based on an index comprising five measures: GDP growth, job growth, unemployment rate, poverty rate, and the bachelor’s degree attainment rate among adults. The average annual GDP growth rate from 2013 to 2018 came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and was included in the index at full weight. The average annual employment growth rate from 2013 to 2018 came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and was included in the index at full weight. The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate as of April 2019 also came from the BLS and was included in the index at full weight. The share of adults living below the poverty line and the share of residents 25 and over with at least a bachelor’s degree came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey were both included in the index at full weight.
In addition to the components in the index, we considered additional state data. GDP and contributions to GDP growth by industry came from the BEA. Median household income, high school attainment rate, and the share of workers commuting outside of the state for work came from the 2017 ACS. The affordability ratio of median home value to median household income is a 24/7 Wall St. calculation based on ACS data. Data on regional price parity came from the BEA and is for 2017. Population change due to natural increase and net migration from 2010 to 2018 came from the U.S. Census Bureau. All data are for the most recent period available.
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