Massachusetts’ overall economy is the best in the United States, according to an analysis of federal economic statistics by Governing magazine.
Governing didn’t analyze the reasons for Massachusetts’ success. However, the state’s economic metrics in recent years have consistently outpaced those of the country as a whole, on the strength of sectors such as technology, biotechnology, health care, and financial and other professional services.
The jump in the rankings — Massachusetts didn’t crack the top 10 in Governing’s previous list, in 2013 — may also have been helped by rapid declines in states whose economies are heavily dependent on natural resources. West Virginia, for example, ranked ninth in 2013 but plummeted to dead last this year, likely due to the near-collapse of its coal industry.
To arrive at its ranking, Governing looked at each state’s current unemployment rate, the change in that rate over the past year, its gross domestic product per-capita in 2015, the percent change in gross domestic product between 2014 and 2015, the percent change in personal income per capita from the third quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016, and the percentage growth in year-to-date increases in jobs for 2016.
The political publication created the list as part of a look at whether there is a correlation between a state’s economic performance and the popularity of its governor. And indeed, Governing found that approval ratings for governors of the top 10 states in its economic ranking averaged 62.1 percent, with none below 54 percent. Governors of the bottom 10 states, meanwhile, averaged 50.8 percent.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker enjoys a 72 percent approval rating, the highest of any governor in the country. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, on the other hand, has the second-lowest at just 29 percent — and his state’s economy ranked 42nd (though that’s an improvement over Connecticut’s 49th-place finish in 2013).
7. New Hampshire
Bottom 10 state economies
47. New Mexico
49. Alaska and West Virginia (tie)