Now that the recovery appears to finally be taking hold, Business Insider decided to see how that recovery was being felt across the country.
We ranked each state on how eight economic measures have grown or shrunk in recent years: the unemployment rate, the number of non-farm payroll jobs, gross domestic product, average wages, the working age (18-64) population, value of international exports, house prices, and auto sales.
The petroleum sector is a major part of the Alaskan economy, but many of Alaska's oil deposits have been depleted over the years. This depletion has dropped the state's crude oil production to 4th place. Other major employment sectors include the federal government, and the fishing and tourism industries. Here's a bit more about Alaska:
The majority of Rhode Island's economy is service-based, specifically focusing on healthcare and education. The state has seen a decline in manufacturing 'after the textile industry moved South and the jewelry industry has been outstripped by foreign competitors. According to our data:
Alabama is growing into a major automotive producer with three major international auto manufacturers. Other major industries include aerospace, chemicals, food processing, and rubber and plastics. Plus, the University of Alabama is the state's largest employer and is a 'global leader in healthcare and medical research'.
According to the New Hampshire state government report 'Measuring New Hampshire's Economic Health,' the state was less impacted by the Great Recession than other states were. Nonfarm jobs faired better than the rest of the nation, and 'employment decline was shorter in New Hampshire than in the rest of the nation'.
According to the Wisconsin Economic Outlook, the state's economy 'grew at a moderate pace in 2013' and 'jobs recovery continued at a moderate pace in 2013'. Additionally, 'the forecast anticipates stronger growth'. Major industries that drive the Wisconsin economy include manufacturing, agriculture, and healthcare.
Mississippi's 'recovery has yet to blossom as labour market fundamentals remain relatively weak', according to a Wells Fargo outlook report. As of February 2014, the government employed one in five residents, making it the largest source of jobs.
The housing crisis affected New Jersey more than other states, and subsequently the state's economy struggled more, according to a Wells Fargo report. And Hurricane Sandy did not help, as 'it diverted resources toward rebuilding activity rather than promoting economic growth'. According to the report: 'part of the slowdown of New Jersey's economy can be traced to the ongoing consolidation of the pharmaceutical industry', which is a major economic powerhouse in the state.
Connecticut's economy is centered around the finance and insurance industries, followed by the manufacturing industry. According to the Connecticut Economic Digest, the state's 'baseline forecast suggests slower growth in 2014 and 2015'.
According to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, 'recent reports of Maryland's economy were mixed, with some labour market contraction, but some improvement in household conditions and in housing markets'. Additionally, 'jobs were added in logging, mining, and construction, financial activities, education and health services, leisure and hospitality'.
According to a JP Morgan Chase report, Pennsylvania's economy is 'on the mend and likely will continue to expand at a moderate pace in 2014 and 2015'. Additionally, the report notes that the state is 'on the front lines of new energy development' which should help 'move the state's economic performance to the front pages in coming years'.
'Financial strains built up during the recession, but the improving economy is relieving pressure on local businesses,' according to a JP Morgan Chase report. Additionally, the strength of the motor vehicle industry is now a 'plus for the state'.
Louisiana is the 'third largest producer of petroleum' in the U.S. and the 'third leading state in petroleum refining'. Other major industries include natural gas, agriculture, petrochemicals, and fishing, shrimp oysters.
Idaho's economy is a fascinating mixture of traditional industries like agribusiness -- Idaho still produces nearly 3 in 10 of the country's potatoes -- and high tech firms like Micron Technologies, which, according to the Idaho Department of Commerce, is 'the only U.S. based memory chip maker.' Here's how Idaho fared in our ranking:
North Carolina is one of the major centres of the New South. Bank of America's headquarters are in Charlotte, which has become a huge banking hub. Add to that the technological powerhouse of the research triangle, and North Carolina's economic future looks bright. Here's where they fall on some of our indicators:
North Dakota has spent the last few years in an oil boom, fuelled by the vast reserves in the Bakken Formation in the western part of the state. That boom translated into North Dakota coming in first in the country in three of our eight metrics:
Oregon has an economy mirroring that of the U.S., with a mixture of agriculture, manufacturing, and services, Recent job growth in Oregon has been fuelled, as it has been throughout the country, by educational and health services, business services, and retail trade. Here's how Oregon looks in our ranking:
Massachusetts, powered by its many prestigious colleges and universities, has a robust service economy, anchored by creative industries, financial services, information technology, and the life sciences. Here's how they scored in our rankings:
Florida's sunny and hot climate has long made it a natural destination for tourists and retirees, and, largely owing to NASA's presence at Cape Canaveral, the state has a long history of being a center for aerospace industries. Here's how Florida scored:
Since the discovery of vast oil reserves around the turn of the twentieth century, Texas has been an economic powerhouse. Energy continues to be a huge part of the Texas economy, but many industries have a large presence in the state. Here's how Texas did on our measures:
Colorado was in the top ten states on five of our metrics, and in the top fifteen on the other three. As with many of the other top economies, Colorado's economy is highly diversified, and especially boasts a strong aerospace sector and a huge amount of federal investment, such as the NORAD complex. Here are some of the metrics where Colorado really shined:
- Colorado saw 1.2% growth in its working age population from 2012 to 2013.
- The state also had 2.8% growth in non-farm payroll jobs, adding 66,300 jobs between June 2013 and June 2014.
- Colorado's GDP grew 3.8% year over year in 2013.
All in all, Colorado's economy is broadly growing at a healthy clip, and so it comes in as the overall winner.
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