The Best- and Worst-Run States in America: A Survey of All 50
From Wall Street 24/7 December 6, 2017
In the United States, the federal government is the ultimate legislative authority — wielding the power to regulate commerce, declare war, as well as establish and maintain a currency. Beyond that, however, the U.S. Constitution grants states considerable leverage in the management of their own internal affairs.
Social and economic outcomes in a given state are often the product of a range of historic circumstances, including — but not limited to — the presence of major companies or universities, natural resources, and prevailing political ideology. While some of these conditions are outside the government’s control, states have the power to plan and react to economic and social conditions through carefully crafted fiscal policies and budgetary priorities.
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for effective state governance, and in this way, no two states are exactly alike. Still, some states are managed far more proficiently than others.
For the eighth year in a row, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed economic indicators, budget allocations, and balance sheets, in addition to a range of social measures to rank how well each state is run. These are the best and worst run states in the country.
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> 2016 Unemployment: 3.0% (3rd lowest)
> Pension funded ratio: 62.4% (11th lowest)
> Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
> Poverty: 9.3% (2nd lowest)
The typical household in Hawaii earns $74,511 a year, nearly $17,000 more than the typical American household. With a strong tax base, the Hawaii government brings in the equivalent of $4,540 a year in tax revenue per resident — more than all but two other states.
The high median income is partially attributable to the relative availability of jobs in the state. Only 3.0% of Hawaii’s labor force were out of work in 2016, nearly the lowest unemployment rate in the country. For those Hawaiians who are unemployed, the state has one of the most generous safety nets in the country. The average weekly payout for unemployment insurance recipients is $490, and 39% of unemployed state residents receive insurance benefits — each among the highest such figures of any state.