The States With the Best and Worst Economies

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6. Hawaii
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: +4.0% (18th largest increase)
> 2018 GDP: $92.0 billion (13th smallest)
> April 2019 unemployment: 2.8% (tied — 8th lowest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: +1.3% (19th largest increase)

Despite slowing tourism — the sector lagged behind the nation as a whole in GDP growth from 2013 to 2018 — Hawaii remains one of the best economies in the United States due to its healthy job market and affluent population. Just 2.8% of the Hawaiian labor force is unemployed, far below the 3.6% national unemployment rate. The typical household earns $77,765 a year, $17,000 more than the U.S. median annual household income and the most of any state other than New Jersey and Maryland. While 13.4% of Americans live below the poverty line, Hawaii’s poverty rate is 9.5%, the fourth lowest in the nation.

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7. Oregon
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: +5.9% (2nd largest increase)
> 2018 GDP: $238.7 billion (25th largest)
> April 2019 unemployment: 4.3% (tied — 9th highest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: +2.8% (5th largest increase)

Oregon is one of many states in the Western United States posting rapid economic growth over the past five years. The state’s GDP grew at an average annual rate of 5.9% from 2013 to 2018, the second fastest increase of any state and far greater than the 4.1% national figure. GDP growth was led by the state’s construction sector, which grew from $6.6 billion in 2013 to $11.0 billion in 2018, a 68.7% increase, outpacing the 43.0% growth rate for the sector nationwide. Some of the largest construction projects currently underway include the 600-room Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center and the $1 billion Penny and Phil Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact at the University of Oregon.

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8. Maryland
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: +3.9% (19th largest increase)
> 2018 GDP: $412.9 billion (15th largest)
> April 2019 unemployment: 3.8% (tied — 18th highest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: +1.0% (23rd smallest increase)

Some 39.7% of adults in Maryland have at least a bachelor’s degree, far more than the 32.0% national share and the third highest college attainment rate of any state. Areas with greater educational attainment are more likely to attract high-paying advanced industry, such as professional and business services and finance.

The professional and business services sector accounts for 14.2% of Maryland’s GDP, the sector’s fifth largest share of any state. The typical Maryland household earns over $20,000 more than the typical U.S. household annually, and just 9.3% of the state population lives below the poverty line — the second lowest poverty rate nationwide.

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9. Virginia
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: +3.3% (22nd smallest increase)
> 2018 GDP: $534.4 billion (13th largest)
> April 2019 unemployment: 2.9% (tied — 12th lowest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: +1.0% (24th smallest increase)

While 32.0% of Americans 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree, in Virginia 38.7% of adults do, the fifth largest share of any state. High educational attainment can be a major pull factor for businesses with advanced, high-paying jobs that tend to require a college degree, such as professional and business services. The professional and business services sector accounts for 19.0% of Virginia’s GDP, the largest share of any state.

Due to its proximity to Washington, D.C., a large share of the Virginia workforce also works in high-paying federal jobs. The typical Virginia household earns $71,535 a year, $11,000 more than the national median household income. Virginia also has one of the healthiest job markets in the country, with just 2.9% of the labor force unemployed.

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10. Minnesota
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: +3.8% (22nd largest increase)
> 2018 GDP: $368.3 billion (17th largest)
> April 2019 unemployment: 3.3% (tied — 18th lowest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: +1.2% (22nd largest increase)

While 3.6% of the U.S. labor force is out of a job, in Minnesota the unemployment rate is 3.3%, tied as the 18th lowest of any state. Other factors contributing to Minnesota’s high rank include its high educational attainment and general prosperity. Some 93.1% of adults have a high school diploma, and 36.1% have a college degree, the highest and ninth highest such attainment rates, respectively. The typical Minnesota household outearns the U.S. median by about $8,000, and just 9.5% of state residents live in poverty — far below the 13.4% national poverty rate. The North Star State is also one of the cheaper states to live in, as goods and services cost 2.5% less in Minnesota han they do nationwide.

Despite its many pull factors, Minnesota has posted relatively lackluster growth over the last several years.