The States With The Best And Worst Economies

Like the broader U.S., each states’ economy is complex. So how do you know which states are on the upswing versus or which may be experiencing a rough patch?

Enter WalletHub’s new ranking of state economic performance. The personal finance site compared each of the 50 states–plus the District of Colombia–across 23 metrics ranging from GDP growth and business startup activity to venture-capital funding per-capita and percentage of jobs held by scientists and engineers.

Each measure was weighted and divided into one of three categories: economic activity, economic health and innovation potential.

“States with high-performing economies typically have very low unemployment rates, higher annual household incomes and a smaller population living beneath the poverty line,” explains Jill Gonzalez, analyst at WalletHub.

The States With The Best And Worst Economies

“Most of those can be seen and felt throughout a state via nice, safe neighborhoods and schools or simply less homeless persons out on the street. Your state’s economy snowballs into your everyday way of life.”

Topping the list is Utah, with strong showings in all three major categories and top scores in business-startup activity, patents and venture capital funding, as well as the largest change in nonfarm payrolls.

Next up is Washington State, which scored highest on economic activity thanks to top exports per capita. Third place California did well on innovation potential with its high percentage of tech jobs and strong venture capital inflows.

Bottom three, West Virginia, Arkansas and Mississippi all struggled with low median incomes and few patents. Interestingly, while Mississippi ranks close to last on GDP growth, West Virginia is among the top five. This, it seems, was not enough to make up for other challenges.