The 10 US States With The Worst Economy

Juneau is Alaska's capital and second-largest city by population.

The world seems to have recovered from the 2007-2009 recession which was the worst global economic downfall since the Great Depression. Since then, the US unemployment rate has slowed down to below 2% in some states and 7% in states that are trying to catch up. The national GDP is growing at an annual rate of 2.6% with the federal government targeting annual growth of 4%. A comprehensive look at each of the states by growth (50% ranking weight), employment (30% ranking weight), and business environment (20% ranking weight), some of the states outperformed others. The growth section represents the economic future of the state, the employment section evaluates the participation of the labor force, job growth, and the unemployment rate in the state, and the business environment section examined overall business investment and tax burden in the state. Below details the lowest ranking US states by economy.

US States With The Worst Economy


Alaska is the largest US state with an area of 665,384 sq mi and the third least populous state with a population of 0.74 million , resulting in it being the most sparsely populated state. The medium income is $31,981 and the GDP is $50,404 million. Alaska ranked the lowest of all the US states in terms of economy, ranking #50 in growth due to similar #50 rankings in the GDP growth (-2.93%) and net migration (nearly -1%) categories. It also ranked #50 in the unemployment rate (7.2%) category of the employment section. Interestingly, the state ranked in first place in the low tax burden (less than 5%) category of the business environment section and in second place in the labor force participation (nearly 70%) category of the employment section.

West Virginia

West Virginia is the 41st largest state with an area of 24,230 sq mi and is the 38th most populous state with a population of 1.83 million. The state has a GDP of $72,861 million and a medium income of $23,348. West Virginia ranked the second worst of the 50 states in terms of economy due in large part to its #50 ranking in the employment section. The state ranked #50 in labor force participation at just under 54%, #49 in job growth with -0.3%, and #48 with an unemployment rate of 5.3%. Interestingly, the state ranked in #13 place for growth of young population, showing an average annual growth of the 25-29 years old age range to be nearly 3% in contrast to the overall US average annual growth rate of nearly 2%.


Mississippi is the 32nd largest US state in terms of both size at 48,432 sq mi and population at 2.99 million. Mississippi has the largest population of African Americans of any state, with African Americans accounting for 37% of the population. In terms of economy, Mississippi ranked third of the 50 states, with low rankings across all three sections. With a GDP of 108,495 and a GDP growth rate of just over 0.05%, Mississippi ranked #46 in the growth section. With only 57.1% of the working age population working or looking for work, the state ranked #49 in terms of labor force participation. The state ranked slightly higher in the low tax burden category coming in #32, due to a tax rate of 8.8%.

America’s Largest Economies

California remains the America's largest economy with a GDP of $2.4 trillion. If California was a sovereign state, it would be the world’s fifth largest economy. California ranked as the 4th best state in terms of economy, with a #1 ranking in the business environment section and #5 place in terms of growth. Texas ranks as the second largest economy with a GDP of $1.3 trillion, followed by New York in third with $1.1 trillion, Florida in fourth with $861 million, and Illinois in fifth with a GDP of $694 million.

The 10 US States With The Worst Economy

RankStateGrowthEmploymentBusiness Environment
1 Alaska504529
2 West Virginia435047
3 Mississippi464748
4 Wyoming493138
5 New Mexico354939
6 Kentucky374844
7 Louisiana384645
8 Connecticut482215
9 Kansas471633
10 New Jersey453922

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