Here's how we ranked the states' economies

In our ranking of the economies of the states and DC, we looked at seven measures of economic health. Each of the measures was rescaled to allow us to compare them to each other. Technically, we calculated z-scores for each state on each measure. To make the combined ranking, we averaged together the seven indicator z-scores for each state to create an overall economic index.

Here are the sources for each of our measures:

To give a little extra context to each state’s economic situation, we looked at the Fortune 1000 companies headquartered in each state. We also looked deeper into the Q4 2014 Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data to see what industries (defined by five-digit NAICS codes) had a disproportionately large share of employment in each state according to their location quotients.

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