Is your state a drag on the American economy or a boon? The 50 states — as diverse as they are — each contribute something to the U.S. economy. Because of their diversity, state economies rarely trend in unison. GDP growth is often the default measure for economic strength, but it often fails to tell the whole story. Unemployment, poverty, job growth, and education among other factors can also play a part in defining the strength of an economy.
Economic vitality is as much about growth as it is about the state’s ability to support its population — with jobs, education, economic opportunities and more. In turn, employed, better-paid, and better-educated residents of a state further contribute to economic growth.
> 2016 GDP: $230.72 billion (23rd largest)
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: 0.2% (the smallest growth)
> Unemployment: 4.9% (7th highest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: 0.7% (4th slowest growth)
While Connecticut is one of the wealthiest and most well-educated states, outbound migration and high unemployment have weakened the state’s economy in recent years. Since 2011, the number of jobs in Connecticut has increased by only 0.7% each year on average, the sixth slowest employment growth of any state. The BLS estimates that 10.8% of Connecticut workers are unemployed, discouraged from seeking employment, or working a part-time job after failing to find full-time employment, the eighth highest underemployment rate of any state.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed economic growth, poverty, unemployment, job growth, and college attainment rates nationwide to compare and rank each state’s economy. As a result, the best ranked states tend to have fast-growing economies, low poverty and unemployment, high job growth, and a relatively well-educated workforce, while the opposite is generally the case among states with the worst ranked economies.