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: $1.28 trillion (3rd largest)
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: 1.3% (tied–22nd smallest growth)
> Unemployment: 4.4% (20th highest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: 1.6% (20th fastest growth)
New York is the fourth largest state by population and the third largest by GDP. A relatively well-educated state, some 35.0% of adults in New York have at least a bachelor’s degree, one of the higher shares among all states. Still, economic growth in the Empire State has not been especially robust in recent years. New York’s economy grew at an annual rate of 1.3% between 2011 and 2016, slightly below the 2.0% GDP growth nationwide over the same period. The state’s finance and insurance sector is one of the largest by total employment of any state — and last year, the industry posed a 0.14 percentage point drag on total GDP growth.
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.