Indiana's economy ranks 28th nationwide, study finds

The Indiana Statehouse. WalletHub ranked Indiana's economy 28th nationwide.

Indiana's economy ranked 28th nationwide, according to a new study.

The personal finance website WalletHub ranked 2019's "Best & Worst State Economies" based on 28 metrics of economic performance, including gross domestic product growth, startup activity and jobs in high-tech industries. Indiana ended up slightly below average, in the middle of the pack.

"U.S. economic growth depends heavily on the performance of individual states," WalletHub said in its study. "But some contribute more than others. California, for instance, blossomed in 2017 as the fifth largest economy in the world, boasting a GDP larger than that of countries like the U.K., France and India. Meanwhile, Alaska, a state with valuable natural resources, is struggling with the highest unemployment rate in the country, at 6.5%."

Washington, Utah, Massachusetts, California and Colorado were the top five, while West Virginia, Hawaii, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alaska were the bottom five.

Indiana placed just ahead of Iowa and just behind Connecticut with a total score of 42.58. The Hoosier state ranked 31st in economic activity, 24th in economic health and 30th in innovation potential.

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Neighboring Illinois ranked 33rd overall, placing 23rd in economic activity, 48th in economic health and 29th in economic potential.

Neither Indiana nor Illinois ranked in the top or bottom five of any of the metrics used in the rankings, including GDP growth, exports per capita, startup activity, lowest unemployment rate, change in nonfarm payrolls, highest state government surplus per capita, educational attainment of recent immigrants, percentage of jobs in high-tech industries, independent inventor assets per 1,000 working age population.

Indiana tends to fare well in studies that look at business climate, but that does not translate to actual economic performance. Business Insider ranked Indiana's economy 26th nationwide last year, U.S. News and World Report ranks Indiana's economy as 28th in the country, and USA Today Money placed Indiana 35th last year. USA Today wrote that, "apart from its unemployment rate, which at 3.3% is slightly better than the national rate of 3.8%, Indiana compares worse than average across most measures of economic health."

In terms of sheer economic output, the Hoosier state ranks 19th nationwide, with a gross domestic product of $371 billion this year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Read the Wallethub report here.


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.