South Dakota Ties for 15th-Strongest Economy; Top Performers Bigger, Bluer

Governing says that South Dakota has the 15th-strongest economy in the United States. We tie with three other states for that distinction: Georgia, Nebraska, and Minnesota.

Who’s beating us? The strongest economies are Massachusetts, Oregon, Delaware, Colorado, and California:

State Economy Rank Electoral Votes
Massachusetts 1 11
Oregon 2 7
Delaware 3 3
Colorado 4 9
California 5 55
Tennessee 6 11
New Hampshire 7 4
Utah 8 6
Virginia 9 13
Maryland 10 10
North Carolina 11 15
Hawaii 12 4
Florida 13 29
Idaho 14 4
Georgia 15 16
Minnesota 15 10
Nebraska 15 5
South Dakota 15 3
Arkansas 19 6
Wisconsin 20 10
Texas 21 38
Washington 22 12
Michigan 23 16
New Jersey 24 14
Vermont 25 3
South Carolina 26 9
Indiana 27 11
Maine 28 4
New York 29 29
Ohio 30 18
Montana 31 3
Missouri 32 10
Nevada 33 6
Illinois 34 20
Rhode Island 35 4
Iowa 36 6
Kentucky 37 8
Kansas 38 6
Pennsylvania 39 20
North Dakota 40 3
Arizona 41 11
Connecticut 42 7
Alabama 43 9
Oklahoma 44 7
Mississippi 45 6
Louisiana 46 8
New Mexico 47 5
Wyoming 48 3
Alaska 49 3
West Virginia 49 5

Governing explains its methodology:

To determine which states are doing well and which aren’t, we looked at six variables from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis: the current state unemployment rate; the improvement in the state unemployment rate over the past year; the per capita state GDP in 2015; the percent change in real state GDP between 2014 and 2015; the percent change in state 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.

…For each of the six variables, we ranked the states from 1 to 50, with 1 being the best score for that variable and 50 the worst score. Once we had the 1 through 50 rankings for all six variables, we added up each state’s ranking, double-weighting two of the six measures — current unemployment and percent change in real GDP — that we considered the most important. After adding up each state’s rankings, including the double-weighted ones, we divided by eight to create an overall average ranking for each state. A rank of 1 in each category would produce an average rating of 1.0, while a rank of 50 would produce an average of 50.0. In reality, no state was perfectly strong or perfectly weak. All states had a mix of rankings, with the rankings for some variables higher than others, so the states’ average rankings ranged between 13.3 and 40.6 rather than 1 to 50 [Louis Jacobson, “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: A Ranking of State Economies,” Governing, 2016.08.22].

The top half of states by economic rank each have average of 12.56 Electoral College votes. The bottom half average 8.84 Electoral votes. If Trump’s strength increases with economic disappointment and if voters in each state thus voted by their relative economic satisfaction, Trump would have to win the thirty lowest-ranking states on this chart to reach 270 Electoral votes. Reversing that thinking, Clinton would only need to win the top 22.

The top half includes 16 states that went for Obama in 2012 and 9 that went for Romney. In the bottom half, Romney states outnumber Obama states 15 to 10. States with the good sense to vote for Obama seem to be a little better at building strong economies

8 Responses to South Dakota Ties for 15th-Strongest Economy; Top Performers Bigger, Bluer

  1. bearcreekbat

    When I see such studies I can’t help but wonder whether they take into account the economic conditions, including unemployment, of SD counties where our reservations are located.

  2. To the extent such a study takes into account reservations, bearcreekbat, it is probably only to the extent of how much federal money flows in. People who are not looking for jobs are not factored into unemployment figures.

    Who among us believes that Minnesota would trade economies with South Dakota? Not I, says me.

  3. Imagine that! The increase in minimum wage didn’t sink the economic ship. In fact the economy improved. I think its time to abandon trickle-down economics and adopt a progressive approach to growing the economy.

  4. Isn’t it interesting that the People’s Republic of Minnesota tied with the Great State of South Dakota. Don’t many of you libbies who haven’t moved there yet hold them out as the model for all you think we should be?

  5. You didn’t read my comment grudz. Nobody in Minnesota thinks South Dakota’s economy is as good as Minnesota’s. They wouldn’t trade with us even over, but no doubt South Dakota would jump at the chance to trade economies with Minnesota. So they are equal? Not a chance.

  6. The drop in oil prices and subsequent drawdown in the Bakkans is tanking places like ND and Wyoming. I’d say that reducing these trends (and trends are a large emphasis in this methodology) to a liberal vs. conservative viewpoint is reductive, but I think Cory already knows that.

  7. I do know there are far more factors at play in economic growth than liberal vs. conservative viewpoint, Dicta. But I wonder: how much of the differences above are explained by the crash of petro-states? Does God bless red states with fossil fuel deposits, only to capriciously punish them with market busts? Does the presence of fossil fuel deposits turn states red?

  8. It bothers me that we have the 15th strongest economy in the nation but pay workers so little. Consider the contentious battle to raise teacher pay from 51st to a project position of 43rd in the nation and still dead last in the region. Our welders are the least paid in the nation. Nurses rank 39th. And so it goes.

    Raising wages and salaries will further boost our economy. Its time those holding the wealth spread it out so we can all do benefit.