Which state tops list for having the best and worst economies?

By several measures, the national economy is the strongest it has been in decades. The U.S. monthly unemployment rate now sits comfortably below 4%, and we are in the second longest period of GDP growth since World War II.

In most states, unemployment has improved in recent years as well, but that is not to say every state economy is equally healthy. Some states are experiencing an economic boom, while others continue to struggle with job losses, poor GDP growth, and poverty.

1. Colorado

  • 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: +2.7% (4th largest increase)
  • 2017 GDP: $302.9 billion (18th largest)
  • June 2018 Unemployment: 2.7% (tied — 3rd lowest)
  • 5 yr. annual employment growth: +2.4% (5th largest increase)

As was the case last year, Colorado’s economy ranks as the best in the country, due largely to its GDP and job growth, which each ranks among the top five nationwide. The state economy has expanded by an average annual rate of 2.7% over the last five years, and employment has increased by an annual average of 2.4% over the same period, compared to national growth rates of 1.7% and 1.5%, respectively. Nationwide, many of the jobs in the fastest growing industries require a postsecondary education, and in Colorado, nearly 40% of the adult population has a bachelor’s degree, the second highest share in the country. College-educated adults are more likely to have greater job security, which may help explain Colorado’s relatively low 2.7% unemployment rate.

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