Study Ranks Wisconsin’s Economy 28th
With low rankings for “economic activity” and business startups, new analysis finds.
Wallet Hub’s latest analysis ranks the economies of all 50 states and the District of Columbia and finds Wisconsin is below average. Wisconsin ranked 28th, but ranked just 38th in “economic activity,” a category that included such factors as business start-up activity, where Wisconsin was tied for 46th place. Wisconsin has regularly ranked at or near the bottom in other studies ranking start-up activity.
Wallet Hub notes that 2015 was “a banner year for the U.S. economy, thanks to a strong dollar, job gains, lower oil prices, increased consumer spending, and general improvements in the housing and business sectors…But within the U.S., state economies could still be either boom or bust.”
To rank the nation’s best and worst economies, Wallet Hub crunched the numbers on 23 different factors, from the unemployment rate to changes in non-farm payroll, percentage of jobs in high-tech industries to patents per 1000 working-age residents, median annual household income to percentage of population lacking health insurance. It then created a data portrait of each state’s economy.
The results in some ways, aren’t a surprise, with the east and west coasts, bulwarks of the nation’s high tech economy, ranking high: Washington ranked second, California third, Massachusetts fourth. Nor were the worst states a surprise: Mississippi (51st), Arkansas (50th) and West Virginia (49th) ranked as having the nation’s worst economy. But the number-one-ranked state was Utah, which may surprise many. Utah ranked first in patents, third in business start-up activity, fourth in immigration of U.S. knowledge workers and fifth in venture capital funding per capita. Forbes recently declared Utah the “new gold standard” for a state economy.
As for Wisconsin, it ranked high (5th) in general economic health, but low (30th) in “innovation potential” and even lower (38th) in “economic activity.” Wisconsin continues to do poorly in any sort of analysis of states’ ability to build a new economy. These rankings predate the tenure of Gov. Scott Walker, but his main strategy of growing the state’s economy through lower taxes seems inadequate, to judge by the seven experts assembled by Wallet Hub, who tended to emphasize the importance of state’s investing in K-12 education, universities and university research, roads and infrastructure.
The analysis found huge differences from state to state in various categories:
-Washington has the highest value of exports per capita, $12,517, which is nine times higher than in Hawaii, the state with the lowest, $1,361.
-South Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate, 2.5 percent, three times lower than in Alaska, the state with the highest, 6.6 percent.
-Massachusetts has the lowest percentage of uninsured population, 3.8 percent, which is six times lower than in Texas, the state with the highest, 21.9 percent.
-New Hampshire has the lowest percentage of residents living below poverty level, 8.9 percent, which is three times lower than in Mississippi, the state with the highest, 22.6 percent.
-Alaska has the lowest foreclosure rate, 0.3 percent, which is 13 times lower than in New Jersey, the state with the highest, 4 percent.
-The District of Columbia has the highest immigration of U.S. knowledge workers, which is 1.5 times higher than in New Mexico, the state with the lowest.
-Massachusetts has the highest percentage of jobs in high-tech industries, 7.94 percent, which is three times higher than in Wyoming, the state with the lowest, 2.32 percent.
-Utah has the highest number of independent-inventor patents per 1,000 working-age residents, 0.188, which is eight times higher than in Mississippi, the state with the lowest, 0.024.