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Taking a Look at Illinois’ Economic Health Compared to Other States

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We haven’t had a working budget in the Land of Lincoln for years. We’ve got pension problems galore, the highest property taxes in the nation, and a pile of overdue bills that would make the strongest desk sag under the weight. So really, could any state be in worse economic shape that we are? In a word: yes. 

Different states have widely different economic growth, to be sure. California, in spite of its lawmakers best efforts, has the 6th largest economy in the world, while our state is drowning in a sea of red ink.

Personal finance site WalletHub did what they do so well–comparing and crunching the numbers–to come up with their list of the best and worst state economies, and to the surprise of some, Illinois fared much better than expected. I wouldn’t run out with a bottle of champagne to pop, but there are some states who definitely would trade economic places with us. Here’s what WalletHub looked at:

In order to determine which states are pulling the most weight, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 27 key indicators of economic performance and strength. Our data set ranges from GDP growth to startup activity to share of jobs in high-tech industries.

First the top 5 best state economies:

1) Washington

2) California

3) Utah

4) Massachusetts

5) District of Columbia

Now, the 5 worst state economies:

47) Oklahoma

48) Arkansas

49) Mississippi

50) Louisiana

51) West Virginia

As for the state of Illinois, we come in at the #34 spot. Wisconsin comes in at #25, Iowa is #33, Indiana is #28, Missouri is #23, and Michigan ranks #12.

Some specifics for Illinois:

Economic Performance of Illinois (1=Best; 25=Avg.)
34th – GDP Growth
14th – Exports per Capita
21st – Startup Activity
25th – % of Jobs in High-Tech Industries
18th – Annual Median Household Income
40th – Change in Nonfarm Payrolls (2016 vs. 2015)
26th – Government Surplus/Deficit per Capita
35th – Unemployment Rate

To read WalletHub’s full piece on 2017’s Best and Worst State Economies, click here.

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