Now that the recovery appears to finally be taking hold, Business Insider decided to see how that recovery was being felt across the country.
We ranked each state on how eight economic measures have grown or
shrunk in recent years: the unemployment rate, the number of non-farm
payroll jobs, gross domestic product, average wages, the working age
(18-64) population, value of international exports, house prices, and
The petroleum sector is a major part of the Alaskan economy, but many of Alaska's oil deposits have been depleted over the years. This depletion has dropped the state's crude oil production to fourth place. Other major employment sectors include the federal government and the fishing and tourism industries.
Alaska was one of the few states that actually lost payroll jobs between June 2013 and June 2014. Wages decreased by .41% from 2012 to 2013. And the GDP decreased by 2.5% in 2013, the worst among the states.
The agriculture industry is the major economic focal point in Nebraska — including crop and livestock production. Other major Nebraska industries include manufacturing and health and business services.
Nebraska's GDP grew by 3%.
The working age population grew by 0.43%.
Additionally, the unemployment rate fell by 0.5%.
Hawaii, with its incredible tropical climate and island scenery, has always relied on tourism, whether or not said tourism is always safe, as a major factor in its economy.
Hawaii saw some of the best improvement in auto sales, with per-dealer sales jumping 11.7% between 2012 and 2013.
Similarly, Hawaii's housing market is booming, with housing prices rising 7.5% from Q1 2013 to Q1 2014.
While not a huge part of the Hawaiian economy, exports dropped 19.5% between 2012 and 2013, the second-largest decline in the country.
23. New York
New York City is the financial capital of the world, but changes in the state's economy have been mixed in the last couple of years. Here's New York's standing in our ranking:
New York had a very respectable 4.8% growth in exports from 2012 to 2013.
Average real wages in New York grew by 0.7% from 2012 to 2013, which, while not a huge increase, is better than in many other states, where wages were completely flat or declined over that time period.
New York's GDP grew by only 0.7% in 2013, the fifth-slowest rate in the nation.
Nevada was hit extremely hard by the implosion of the 2000's housing bubble, but its economy, including its housing market, is getting back on its feet. Here's where Nevada stands on our variables:
Nevada's home prices have skyrocketed over the past few years, jumping nearly 20% between Q1 2013 and Q2 2014, the largest increase of any state.
Nevada's job market is also dramatically improving. The unemployment rate dropped 2.3% from 10.0% in June 2013 to 7.7% in June 2014, the second-best improvement in the country.
The drop in unemployment was fueled by strong job growth, with Nevada adding 46,200 jobs over the same time period, a 3.9% gain.
The state of Washington is home to many major corporations, with the headquarters of technology companies like Microsoft and Amazon, the home of coffee behemoth Starbucks, and a significant presence of airplane giant Boeing. Here's Washington's score:
Washington saw 6.3% growth in international exports between 2012 and 2013, led by $42.6 billion of exports of aircraft, engines, and parts.
Washington's housing market is improving, with a 5.3% increase in house prices between Q1 2013 and Q1 2014.
Drivers in Washington are buying cars, with per-dealer auto sales increasing 8.7% from 2012 to 2013.
Florida's sunny and hot climate has long made it a natural destination for tourists and retirees, and, largely owing to NASA's presence at Cape Canaveral, the state has a long history of being a center for aerospace industries. Here's how Florida scored:
Florida's housing market shows strong signs of recovery, with prices rising 8.9% from Q1 2013 to Q1 2014.
Florida had a 3.1% jump in payroll jobs between June 2013 and June 2014, adding about 237,500 jobs over that year.
Florida's working age population is expanding, growing at a 0.7% rate, higher than the U.S. rate of 0.4%.
With a state government focused on economic growth, Utah frequently shows up at or near the top of lists of states where it's good to do business. Here's why they're near the top of our list:
Utah has a rapidly growing working-age population, with a 1.5% increase in the number of 18- to 64-year-olds between 2012 and 2013, the second-highest rate in the nation.
Utah also saw robust job growth, adding 45,000 jobs between June 2013 and June 2014, a 3.5% increase.
State GDP rose 3.8% in 2013, tied for sixth in the country.
With Phoenix at its heart, and despite being hit especially hard by the collapse of the housing bubble, Arizona continues to have a rapidly growing economy. Here's how Arizona scored on our metrics:
Arizona saw an 18.8% jump in per-dealer auto sales from $60.6 million in 2012 to $71.9 million in 2013, the largest jump of that in any state.
Arizona's housing market is making a brisk post-recession recovery, with a 13.4% increase in house prices between Q1 2013 and Q1 2014. Although we count this as a positive, some see the possibility of a new bubble.
Despite this, overall GDP growth in Arizona was a bit weaker than in some of the other high-ranking states, with just 1.1% growth in 2013.
Since the discovery of vast oil reserves around the turn of the 20th century, Texas has been an economic powerhouse. Energy continues to be a huge part of the Texas economy, but many industries have a large presence in the state. Here's how Texas did on our measures:
Texas had a 3.3% increase in nonfarm payroll jobs
The working age population grew by 1.3%
Exports grew by 4.1% to about $279 billion, solidifying Texas' lead in international exports among the states.
California is the country's largest state by population and sheer economic size. California's economy is enormous in nearly every industrial sector. Here's how the Golden State fared on our metrics:
Housing prices jumped up by 15%, showing strong signs of a booming housing market, though of course this has its costs, especially in the Bay Area.
Real annual wages went up 0.9%, with a 2013 annual wage of $57,121.
Per-dealer auto sales had a 9.5% increase in per-dealer auto sales, indicating that consumers are feeling good.
Colorado was in the top 10 states on five of our metrics, and in the top 15 on the other three. As with many of the other top economies, Colorado's economy is highly diversified, and it especially boasts a strong aerospace sector and a huge amount of federal investment, such as the NORAD complex. Here are some of the metrics in which Colorado really shined:
Colorado saw 1.2% growth in its working age population from 2012 to 2013.
The state also had 2.8% growth in non-farm payroll jobs, adding 66,300 jobs between June 2013 and June 2014.
Colorado's GDP grew 3.8% year over year in 2013.
All in all, Colorado's economy is broadly growing at a healthy clip, and so it comes in as the overall winner.