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States Whose Economies Are Failing vs. States Whose Economies Are Thriving

·11 min read

The swiftness with which the coronavirus pandemic wiped out the U.S. economy in early 2020 was breathtaking. Seemingly overnight, the U.S. unemployment rate shot up to an all-time record of 14.7% in April 2020. Both the overall rate of 14.7% and the 10.3% jump from the prior month were the highest on record since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping statistics in January 1948. Since then, the economy as a whole has been steadily improving, both in terms of the unemployment rate and year-over-year GDP. However, as the U.S. is such a large country, with a wide diversity of states and economies, the recovery is not what you'd call consistent. Some states have already made a rebound almost all the way back to pre-pandemic levels, while others have continued to struggle to return to a state of balance.

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To determine which economies are thriving and which are failing, GOBankingRates took a look at a variety of economic factors, from year-over-year GDP and unemployment rates to wage changes and the percentage of a state's population that is living in poverty. States were divided into the top 15 and the bottom 15.

Read on to find out which states are at the bottom and the top of this split recovery.

urbazon / Getty Images
urbazon / Getty Images

States Whose Economies Are Failing
These states have not yet seen the benefits of the economic recovery some others have. Although overall unemployment trends are improving, residents of these states are still having trouble finding jobs and contributing to the state's GDP.POLL: Have You Skipped Any of These Essential Expenses Due to Rising Prices?

DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com

1. Michigan
March 2022 unemployment rate: 4.4%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 4.2%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $43,580
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 5.8%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,154
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 5.3%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 10.6%

Kruck20 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Kruck20 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

2. South Carolina
March 2022 unemployment rate: 3.4%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 2.7%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $54,280
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 6.8%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $988
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 6.9%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 14.2%

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

3. Arkansas
March 2022 unemployment rate: 3.1%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 2.8%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $49,732
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 5.1%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $963
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 7.8%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 14.1%

Christopher Cagney / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Christopher Cagney / Getty Images/iStockphoto

4. North Dakota
March 2022 unemployment rate: 2.9%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 3.1%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $85,647
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: -1.8%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,076
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 5.1%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 9.4%

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

5. Kansas
March 2022 unemployment rate: 2.5%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 1.5%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $67,570
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 1.5%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $997
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 4.7%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 9.3%

SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto
SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

6. Alabama
March 2022 unemployment rate: 2.9%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 1.58%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $51,086
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 5.7%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,030
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 5.3%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 13.9%

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

7. Ohio
March 2022 unemployment rate: 4.1%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 2.1%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $64,941
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 5.5%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,098
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 5.6%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 12.5%

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8. New Mexico
March 2022 unemployment rate: 5.3%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 5.9%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $54,200
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 7.6%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $997
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 5.6%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 15.9%

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

9. South Dakota
March 2022 unemployment rate: 2.5%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 2.1%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $70,148
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 0.3%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $965
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 5.1%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 11.1%

Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

10. Kentucky
March 2022 unemployment rate: 4%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 2.5%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $54,216
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 5.9%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $989
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 5.8%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 13.8%

Daydreambelieverme / Shutterstock.com
Daydreambelieverme / Shutterstock.com

11. Iowa
March 2022 unemployment rate: 3.3%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 2.1%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $70,683
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: -2.3%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,015
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: b%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 9.3%

felixmizioznikov / Getty Images/iStockphoto
felixmizioznikov / Getty Images/iStockphoto

12. Louisiana
March 2022 unemployment rate: 4.2%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 2.5%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $57,769
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 5.7%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,021
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 5.4%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 16.7%

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

13. Alaska
March 2022 unemployment rate: 5%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 1.6%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $79,139
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 3%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,205
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 3.4%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 11.8%

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

14. West Virginia
March 2022 unemployment rate: 3.7%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 1.7%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $51,573
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 1.7%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $960
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 5%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 14%

SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto
SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

15. Mississippi
March 2022 unemployment rate: 4.2%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 2.5%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $57,769
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 5.7%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,021
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 5.4%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 16.7%

RgStudio / iStock.com
RgStudio / iStock.com

States Whose Economies Are Thriving
If you live in one of these states, you've probably noticed the signs of economic improvement. Unemployment and GDP levels are recovering nicely in these areas. Here's a look at the 15 states helping to lead America as a whole back to a full recovery.

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

1. New Hampshire
March 2022 unemployment rate: 2.5%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 3.8%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $73,751
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 7.9%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,349
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 15%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 4.9%

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

2. Massachusetts
March 2022 unemployment rate: 4.3%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 5.4%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $95,029
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 7.8%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,593
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 7%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 8%

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

3. Washington
March 2022 unemployment rate: 4.2%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 5.1%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $90,034
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 8.3%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,578
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 6.6%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 7.6%

TriggerPhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto
TriggerPhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

4. California
March 2022 unemployment rate: 4.9%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 6.4%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $89,540
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 9.5%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,576
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 7.7%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 10.6%

zhudifeng / Getty Images/iStockphoto
zhudifeng / Getty Images/iStockphoto

5. Oregon
March 2022 unemployment rate: 3.8%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 4.5%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $65,806
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 9.8%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,220
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 9.6%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 8.8%

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

6. Utah
March 2022 unemployment rate: 2%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 3.8%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $69,007
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 6.5%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,087
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 7.1%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 7.4%

4kodiak / iStock.com
4kodiak / iStock.com

7. Nevada
March 2022 unemployment rate: 5%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 9.1%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $64,983
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 7.9%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,135
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 8.3%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 11.7%

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8. New Jersey
March 2022 unemployment rate: 4.2%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 5.5%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $75,549
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 7.4%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,384
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 4.1%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 7.2%

christiannafzger / Getty Images/iStockphoto
christiannafzger / Getty Images/iStockphoto

9. District of Columbia
March 2022 unemployment rate: 6%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021:4.8%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $233,500
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 3.5%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $2,042
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 4.1%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 14.6%

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

10. Florida
March 2022 unemployment rate: 3.2%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 5.7%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $59,046
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 7.5%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,120
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 8.7%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 12.4%

welcomia / Shutterstock
welcomia / Shutterstock

11. Colorado
March 2022 unemployment rate: 3.7%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 4.9%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $75,860
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 6%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,322
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 7%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 9.4%

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

12. Tennessee
March 2022 unemployment rate: 3.2%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 4.1%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $62,944
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 9.9%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,111
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 8.7%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 7%

knowlesgallery / Getty Images/iStockphoto
knowlesgallery / Getty Images/iStockphoto

13. Idaho
March 2022 unemployment rate: 2.7%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 3.2%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $51,793
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 8.2%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $953
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 7.8%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 8.1%

RoschetzkyIstockPhoto / iStock.com
RoschetzkyIstockPhoto / iStock.com

14. Texas
March 2022 unemployment rate: 4.4%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 5.9%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $71,274
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 10.1%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,2427
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 6.7%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 12.5%

Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

15. Minnesota
March 2022 unemployment rate: 2.5%
Year-over-year change in unemployment Feb. 2021: 2.3%
Q4 2021 GDP per capita: $75,234
GDP growth Q3 2021-Q4 2021: 5%
Average weekly wages Sept. 2020: $1,249
Percent change in average weekly wages Sept. 2020-Sept. 2021: 6.1%
Percent of population below poverty line 2020: 7%
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Methodology: GOBankingRates analyzed the following factors for each state and Washington D.C. to gauge the health of their economies: (1) March 2022 unemployment rates according to Burea of Labor Statistics (BLS) Local Area Unemployment Statistics; (2) the March 2022 year-over-year change in nonfarm payroll jobs, per the BLS State and Metro Area Employment, Hours, & Earnings data; (3) the Q4 2021 GDP per capita in current dollars, calculated by using population data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) 2020 5-year estimates and the Bureau of Economic Analysis's (BEA) most recent GDP by State release; (4) the percent by which GDP grew between Q3 and Q4 2021, also per the BEA GDP release; (5) the average weekly wage in Q3 2021, per the BLS Economic News Release; (6) percent change in the average weekly wage, September 2020 to September 2021, per the BLS Economic News Release; and (7) percent of the population living below the poverty line, according to the Census Bureau's Income and Poverty in the United States: 2020. States were scored on all factors and ranked against each other based on their combined total score. The states with the lowest combined scores were identified as states with thriving economies and the states with the highest combined scores were identified as states with failing economies. All data was collected on and up to date as of May 3, 2022.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: States Whose Economies Are Failing vs. States Whose Economies Are Thriving