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: $300.59 billion (16th largest)
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: 1.4% (tied–23rd largest growth)
> Unemployment: 3.2% (13th lowest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: 1.6% (21st fastest growth)
Indiana’s GDP has grown at an annual rate of 1.4% annually since 2011, far slower than the 2.0% national rate. One reason for the slow economic growth is the state’s industrial composition. Relatively few workers in the state are employed in fast-growing industries like information and professional services, while 17.5% of jobs in Indiana are in manufacturing — the largest share of any state. Indiana’s potential for economic growth is further stymied by the state’s shallow talent pool. Just 24.9% of adults in the state have a bachelor’s degree, the ninth smallest share of all states.
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.