In our ranking of the economies of the states and DC, we looked at seven measures of economic health.
Each measure was rescaled to allow us to compare them to one another. 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:
- November 2015 unemployment rate: The most recent unemployment rate for each of the states and DC came from the Bureau of Labour Statistics’ Local Area Unemployment Statistics program.
- Per cent change in nonfarm payroll jobs, November 2014-November 2015: We calculated the rate of increase or decrease in nonfarm payrolls, also taken from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics data.
- 2014 GDP per capita: Every year, the Bureau of Economic Analysis releases their estimates of the GDP of each state and DC. We used this and the Census Bureau’s estimates for the July 1, 2014, population of each state to calculate GDP per person.
- Q2 2015 GDP growth: The BEA recently started releasing quarterly GDP growth rates for the states.
- Change in housing prices, Q3 2014-Q3 2015: We used the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s House Price Index for this measure.
- November 2015 average weekly wage: We took this from the Bureau of Labour Statistics’ State and Metro Area Employment, Hours and Earnings program.
- Change in average weekly wage, November 2014-November 2015: This also came from the State and Metro Area Employment, Hours and Earnings program.
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