Arizona is among the top six states in a national ranking of economic momentum.
More than half of the 50 states exceeded the nation’s overall economic performance in the first quarter, according to the first quarter Index of State Economic Momentum published by Washington, D.C.-based State Policy Reports.
Arizona was ranked No. 6, with an economic momentum score of 2.06% higher than the national average. Idaho ranked No. 1 with a score of 4.08% higher than the national average, followed by Utah (3.37%), Montana (2.69%), South Dakota (2.65%) and Nebraska (2.05%) rounding out the top five.
The report sources data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau and ranks states based on their most recent performance in three measures of economic vitality: personal income growth, employment growth and population growth.
Arizona was among the 28 states that exceeded the national average, while 22 states and the District of Columbia lagged behind. Hawaii took the bottom spot with a score of -5.14%.
Looking at the specific sub-measures that created the final ranking, Arizona was tied at No. 5 with Utah in personal income growth, measured from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the same period in 2020. Arizona saw personal income grow by 6.1% in that 12-month period, compared with 4% growth nationwide.
Arizona didn’t fare quite as well in the employment growth category, measured from February 2020 to February 2021. The state saw total employment drop by 3.9% in that period, tied for ninth place among all states with South Carolina, but still far better than the nation as a whole, which saw total employment drop by 6.5%. Idaho topped that ranking with 1% employment growth, followed by Utah with 0.4% employment growth — the only two states on the plus side of the ledger.
As for the final piece of data used for the overall ranking, Arizona surged ahead. In terms of population growth, Arizona was ranked No. 2 in the country with population growth of 1.8% between July 2019 and July 2020, topped only by Idaho, with population growth of 2.1%. New York and California saw their population drop during that period, when a steady exodus of transplants came to Arizona.