24/7 Wall St: Louisiana’s economy worst in nation since pandemic

Samuel Stebbins, 24/7 Wall St. via The Center Square

The COVID-19 pandemic sent economic shockwaves through the U.S. economy, tripling the monthly unemployment to nearly 15% and leading to a more than 30% quarterly decline in GDP — by far the largest economic contraction in U.S. history.

No corner of the country was untouched by the pandemic’s economic consequences — but some states have emerged better off than others. A range of factors, including industrial diversity, labor force education levels, household income, and long-term GDP growth, have an effect on a state’s overall economic strength — and its ability to withstand the impact of the pandemic.

To determine the states with the best and worst economies, both in the years leading up to the pandemic and during it, 24/7 Wall St. created an index of five measures — five-year economic growth, five-year employment growth, the poverty rate, unemployment rate, and share of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Louisiana’s economy ranks as the worst in the United States. The state shed nearly 114,000 jobs during the pandemic, and partially as a result, employment is down 4.1% from where it was five years ago. Currently, 7.3% of the labor force in Louisiana are out of work, one of the higher jobless rates among states and well above the 6.0% national unemployment rate.

An estimated 19.0% of the state’s population live below the poverty line, the second largest share of any state and well above the 12.3% national poverty rate. The widespread financial hardship in Louisiana is indicative of deeply seated economic problems.

All index components used to create this ranking were included at equal weight. All data used to create the index came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. Additional state level data on economic output by industry from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is how all 50 state economies rank.

RankStatePoverty rateMarch 2021 unemployment rateAvg. annual employment chg., March 2016 to March 2021Avg. annual GDP chg., Q4 2015 to Q4 2020
1Utah8.9%2.9%+2.0%+3.9%
2Idaho11.2%3.2%+2.3%+3.9%
3Washington9.8%5.4%+1.2%+4.3%
4Colorado9.3%6.4%+1.4%+2.8%
5New Hampshire7.3%3.0%+0.2%+0.6%
6Nebraska9.9%2.9%+0.0%+1.2%
7Minnesota9.0%4.2%-0.1%+1.1%
8Massachusetts9.4%6.8%+0.2%+1.4%
9Georgia13.3%4.5%+1.7%+2.2%
10Oregon11.4%6.0%+0.9%+2.8%
11Virginia9.9%5.1%-0.2%+1.2%
12Kansas11.4%3.7%+0.2%+1.1%
13Montana12.6%3.8%+0.5%+1.2%
14South Dakota11.9%2.9%+0.6%+0.8%
15Florida12.7%4.7%+0.9%+2.2%
16Maryland9.0%6.2%-0.6%+1.0%
17Arizona13.5%6.7%+1.9%+2.9%
18Wisconsin10.4%3.8%-0.2%+0.8%
19Vermont10.2%2.9%-1.9%-0.1%
20North Carolina13.6%5.2%+0.8%+1.7%
21Indiana11.9%3.9%+0.1%+1.5%
22South Carolina13.8%5.1%+0.9%+1.8%
23Maine10.9%4.8%-0.7%+1.0%
24Alabama15.5%3.8%+1.3%+1.1%
25Tennessee13.9%5.0%+1.2%+1.0%
26Missouri12.9%4.2%-0.0%+0.7%
27New Jersey9.2%7.7%-0.9%+0.3%
28Iowa11.2%3.7%-0.9%+0.3%
29Ohio13.1%4.7%+0.0%+0.7%
30North Dakota10.6%4.4%-0.6%-0.4%
31Texas13.6%6.9%+0.6%+1.7%
32California11.8%8.3%-0.6%+2.4%
33Delaware11.3%6.5%+0.4%-0.6%
34Nevada12.5%8.1%+1.5%+1.9%
35Michigan13.0%5.1%-0.6%+0.4%
36Wyoming10.1%5.3%-0.4%-1.6%
37Rhode Island10.8%7.1%-0.8%-0.5%
38Oklahoma15.2%4.2%+0.4%-0.6%
39Pennsylvania12.0%7.3%-0.8%+0.6%
40Illinois11.5%7.1%-1.6%+0.2%
41New York13.0%8.5%-0.8%+0.8%
42Arkansas16.2%4.4%+0.1%+0.6%
43Alaska10.1%6.6%-0.8%-0.8%
44Connecticut10.0%8.3%-2.4%+0.1%
45Kentucky16.3%5.0%-0.1%+0.5%
46Hawaii9.3%9.0%-2.1%-0.5%
47West Virginia16.0%5.9%+0.3%-0.2%
48New Mexico18.2%8.3%-0.1%+1.1%
49Mississippi19.6%6.3%+0.1%+0.5%
50Louisiana19.0%7.3%-0.8%+0.3%