(Source: 24/7 Wall St.) — 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.
Resource extraction is one of the largest industries in North Dakota, and demand for those resources plummeted during the pandemic. Due in part to declining output in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction during the pandemic, which resulted in considerable GDP contraction over the past year, North Dakota’s economy contracted at a rate of 0.4% a year over the last half decade.
The pandemic also triggered mass job losses in the state. Though North Dakota’s unemployment rate of 4.4% is below the 6.0% national rate, it is nearly double what it was this time last year.
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.