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: $1.50 trillion (2nd largest)
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: 3.9% (2nd largest growth)
> Unemployment: 4.8% (12th highest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: 2.5% (7th fastest growth)
Texas is the second largest state by population and land area, and the second largest economy. The size of the state’s economy is due in no small part to its immense crude oil and natural gas reserves. No U.S. state produces more energy than Texas. The industry also pays well in Texas. The average resources and mining worker earns $110,430 a year, approximately twice the industry average nationwide and the second highest average annual wage for the industry of all states.
The state’s unemployment rate of 4.8% and poverty rate of 15.9% are each higher than the corresponding national rates, which indicates the state’s economy may not be as favorable to residents as its growth rate and size would suggest.
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.