SPOKANE, Wash. — A recent report released by WalletHub, a popular personal finance website, said that Washington has the best state economy in the United States for 2019.
While an economy is made up of many factors, WalletHub specifically looked at areas such as growth and unemployment. The report named Washington state as having the fasted growing state economy, and put Idaho in third on the same list.
As for unemployment, Washington didn’t fair too well in WalletHub’s rankings. The reports lists them has being tied for 47th, just four places away from the bottom of the list. This means that only three places — the District of Columbia, West Virginia and Alaska — have higher unemployment rates, according to WalletHub.
While WalletHub, like just about anyone, has their own criteria for what makes the nation’s best state economy, we set out to verify the specific claims regarding economic growth and unemployment in the report.
To verify, we looked at statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to verify these claims.
Does Washington have the fastest growing economy? Is Idaho’s the third-fastest growing?
In WalletHub’s report, they list Washington as having the country’s fastest-growing economy, while giving Idaho the No. 3 spot in the category.
Is this true? Well the answer is: it depends on what date range you use for your figures.
These rankings are true if you look at Gross Domestic Product growth from 2017 to 2018. The Bureau of Economic Analysis lists Washington as having 5.7 percent growth in those two years, which led the nation. Idaho had a 4.2 percent growth in GDP during the same time, good enough for third.
While these numbers are portrayed correctly in the WalletHub report, you’ll get rankings if you look at the numbers listed for growth from Q3 to Q4 of 2018, which were the most recent growth data provided.
These numbers seem to suggest that Washington and Idaho’s growth has slowed down. The BEA said that Washington had a 3.1 percent growth during that time, while Idaho only grew 2.7 percent. This places the states at ninth and 11th among U.S. states respectively.
During this time, Texas took the top spot with a 6.6 percent growth.
The BEA data did not include the District of Columbia.
Does Washington have one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation?
Another claim in the WalletHub report that was likely to catch some attention was their unemployment rate rankings. Washington was dwindling near the bottom, coming in as tied for the No. 47 spot.
This claim isn’t entirely accurate if you use data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their latest unemployment figures from April 2019 has Washington at the No. 45 spot, with an unemployment rate sitting at 4.7 percent. These rankings include the District of Columbia.
In other words, Washington had the seventh highest unemployment rate in April 2019.
It is unclear where Idaho ended up in WalletHub’s unemployment rankings, but the BLS figures have Idaho listed as tied for the fifth lowest unemployment rate in April of 2019 at 2.8 percent.
The state with the lowest unemployment rate? Vermont, with 2.2 percent.
Which state contributes the most to the United States’ economy?
While the WalletHub report had their own criteria for ranking economies, one question that may arise is which states contribute the highest percentage to the country’s GDP, and where Inland Northwest states rank.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, California takes the top spot. The state is responsible for 14.5 percent of the United States’ GDP, with Texas taking the runner-up spot at 8.7 percent.
Washington comes in lower on the list at No. 12, contributing 2.8 percent of the nation’s GDP. Idaho falls even further on this list, coming in tied for No. 38, contributing just .4 percent.
Keep in mind, however, that the Census Bureau’s July 2018 estimate lists California as having about 39.6 million people, as compared to Washington’s approximately 7.5 million people and Idaho’s approximately 1.8 million people.
Yes, Washington has the fastest-growing state economy and Idaho has the third-fastest growing economy if you use growth numbers from 2017 to 2018. However, the states start to fall down the rankings if you use numbers from the end of 2018 specifically.
No, Washington doesn’t quite have the seventh-highest unemployment rate in the country. It’s closer to ninth-highest.
As for the largest state economy, that goes to California. But, they also have a huge population compared to Washington and Idaho.