States Overcome the ‘New Normal’
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While the national economy is slowly expanding and adding private sector jobs, some states are doing better than others. Still, others are poised for greater future economic success because of pro-growth policies, according to the latest edition of the U.S. Chamber’s annual Enterprising States study.
“We have so much going for us as a country,” says Margaret Spellings, president of the Chamber’s U.S. Forum for Policy Innovation. “We have strong demographics, abundant natural resources, the world’s most productive workers and businesses, an unquenchable thirst for entrepreneurship, and a long history of picking ourselves up when we are down. The most important role governments can play is to remove the impediments and uncertainties that have slowed our growth and shackled our job creators.”
Enterprising States, now in its third year, looks at states’ performances in five policy areas that impact and stimulate new economic opportunity and job creation: entrepreneurship and innovation, exports and international trade, infrastructure, talent pipeline, and taxes and regulation.
Bucking the Trends
Some states have largely avoided the recession and subsequent weak recovery. By the end of 2011, six states—North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, Utah, Texas and Montana—showed more than 8% job growth over the preceding decade. Another 22 had shown some, although less robust, employment increases over that period.
Utah was a consistently strong performer on several metrics, including innovation, and is a top 10 future boom state, according to the Chamber report. “People always ask, ‘What’s Utah’s secret? How are you bucking the national trend?’” Gov. Gary Herbert (R) told Free Enterprise in an interview. “The secret is there is no secret. We adhere to basic fundamental principles of free enterprise—we live within our budget.”
Many states are leveraging increases in food exports, domestic energy investment, a revived manufacturing sector, a burgeoning tech sector, vital demographics, and increased investment from abroad to spark a long-term recovery.
“We have invested in our top two priorities, jobs and education, and that has put our state in very good shape,” said Gov. Dave Heineman (R-NE), who also spoke to Free Enterprise. “My goal has always been to give all our citizens a good education and then create good-paying, high-quality jobs to keep them here in Nebraska.”
Herbert and Heineman joined Gov. Jack Markell (D-DE) and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) at the Chamber’s June 13 Jobs Summit, where Enterprising States and a case study report on growth at the metro level, Denver and Pittsburgh: A Profile on Job Creation, were released.
Visit http://ncf.uschamber.com/library/enterprising-states to see how your state ranks.
2012 Enterprising States Study
Top Performing States for Growth, Productivity, and Livability
1. North Dakota—Finished in the top 10 in six of the seven performance-ranking categories, topping the list in four growth categories: short-term jobs, long-term jobs, gross state product (GSP), and per capita personal income.
2. Wyoming—Finished in the top 25 in all seven performance measures and is among the top five states in five measures. It is second in long-term job growth and GSP growth and third in productivity growth and income growth.
3. Virginia—Placed in the top 25 in all seven measures, including seventh in productivity growth and 10th in GSP growth.
4. Alaska—Second in overall productivity, fourth in long-term job growth, and eighth in GSP growth over the past decade.
5. Maryland—Finished in the top 25 in all seven performance measures, including fifth in adjusted income for a family of four and ninth in productivity growth.
6. Texas—Appears in the top 25 in six of the seven measures. The Lone Star State’s strongest categories are short- and long-term job growth (second and fifth, respectively) and GSP expansion (ninth).
7. South Dakota—Has experienced significant growth in chemicals, machinery, fabricated metals, and transportation equipment. At the same time, the Mount Rushmore State added more than 5,000 jobs in professional services for 35% growth.
8. Washington—Moved up five places from the 2011 report into this year’s top 10 largely due to its rapid short-term job growth.
9. Iowa—Placed fifth in growth in economic productivity, sixth in per capita income growth, and 11th in GSP growth.
10. New York—Placed in the top 25 in six of seven measures. The Empire State moved up 11 spots in this year’s performance rankings due to rapid GSP expansion and per capita personal income growth.