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: $552.46 billion (7th largest)
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: 1.6% (tied–18th largest growth)
> Unemployment: 4.9% (7th highest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: 1.4% (23rd slowest growth)
Ohio is one of many states in the Appalachian Region where residents struggle with high unemployment and slow economic growth. The state’s unemployment rate of 4.9% is higher than the 4.3% national jobless rate. And unemployment could get worse. Relatively few workers in Ohio are employed in fast-growing industries such as information, while employment in the state is highly concentrated in the shrinking manufacturing industry. Some 12.9% of workers in the state are employed in the manufacturing industry, the eighth largest share nationwide. In 2016, the durable goods manufacturing industry detracted more from Ohio’s GDP growth rate than any other sector.
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.