Utah this year has the best economy among U.S. states, beating out top 5-ranked Washington, California, Massachusetts and Colorado. Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Maine and New Mexico are the worst areas for commercial activity, according to a study.
“State economies could still be either boom or bust,” according to finance website WalletHub, the author of the report
. “Illinois, for instance, is currently in a fiscal free fall, with no budget for the second year in a row — putting its schools and social programs in peril — and the highest unemployment rate in the Midwest.”
The U.S. economy was estimated to have grown
by 0.8 percent, adjusted for inflation, in the first quarter from a year earlier. That was the slowest expansion in a year, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
That meager growth has translated into a shaky jobs markets for millions of Americans. The U.S. created 38,000 jobs
in May, surprising Wall Street economists who expected 158,000 new hires. The disappointing report has all but guaranteed that the Federal Reserve won’t raises interest rates when it meets this month.
WalletHub measured state economies with several methods, including business activity, health and innovation potential. Massachusetts was No. 1 in the technical ranking because of its well educated work force, while West Virginia ranked last.
“California has blossomed into the seventh largest economy in the world, boasting a GDP of $2.3 trillion, which was comparable to Brazil’s $2.2 trillion, in 2014,” the report says.
Meanwhile, high-tech hubs like the Raleigh Research Triangle in North Carolina, Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas, aren’t immune to a collapse in the middle class that is gripping the United States.
“While Raleigh’s population continues to grow, the new data from Pew shows that the robust population growth has not necessarily translated into higher incomes for its new residents,” according to the Financial Times, citing income data from the non-partisan Pew Research Center
. “In the areas surrounding tech-friendly San Francisco and neighboring San Jose, both median incomes and the middle class’s share of the population have fallen. In Austin, a more direct rival to Raleigh, median incomes for a household of three fell to just over $74,000 from just under $78,000 in 1999.”
Raleigh has attracted the biotech industry because of research universities in the area that turn out highly educated professionals, but the city is also grappling with a declining middle class and growing poverty, the FT reports.
“Raleigh is confronting a growing poverty problem driven by existing populations and the arrival of less-educated migrants … in search of lower-end construction and service jobs, when the real job openings are in technology or healthcare and other high-skilled industries,” the newspaper reports. “Groups working with Raleigh’s poor say that, even years on from the 2007-08 global financial crisis and the recession that followed, they are busier than ever.”
Top 10 States
- District of Columbia
- New York
Bottom 10 States
- West Virginia
- New Mexico
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