Press Release

New Economic Data Ranks States Based On Economic Outlook

Contact: Taylor McCarty

New Economic Data Ranks States Based On Economic Outlook

Rich States, Poor States celebrates 10th edition; Utah keeps top ranking while New York earns worst outlook

Arlington, VA (April 18, 2017) – For the 10th year in a row, Utah earns the top spot for best economic outlook, followed by Indiana, North Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee, according to recently released data by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). According to the annual publication Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index, New York retains the unwelcomed achievement of ranking 50th in economic outlook for the fourth consecutive year, followed by Vermont, New Jersey, California and Connecticut.

State lawmakers have relied upon Rich States, Poor States as a guide for measuring the economic competitiveness of their states since 2008. The publication is authored by Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, a member of Ronald Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board, Stephen Moore, distinguished visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and Jonathan Williams, ALEC Chief Economist and Vice President of the ALEC Center for State Fiscal Reform.

“As we celebrate the 10th edition of Rich States, Poor States, the presented data remains consistent in its message. State governments are constantly competing for Americans and jobs, and in this fast-moving environment, standing still is enough to get left behind,” said Jonathan Williams. “States that have adopted pro-growth policies have enjoyed robust economic expansion, with greater wage growth and more opportunities for citizens. The facts remain clear that pro-growth policies are working and there is a clear trend in favor of market-oriented reforms. Along with my co-authors, Dr. Art Laffer and Stephen Moore, I look forward to continuing this important work for years to come.”

In celebration of its 10th edition, ALEC has launched a new, dynamic website alongside current state economic rankings. This site gives users the ability to compare and contrast economic policy and performance trends of the last decade, featuring a new tool showing how particular policy adjustments can change the economic outlook ranking of an individual state, including various tax rates, regulatory burdens and labor policies.

According to, many states significantly improved or fell in the Index. Delaware rose seven spots but still remains at a dismal 37th. West Virginia also climbed six spots from 37th to 31st. On the other hand, Oklahoma dropped six places from 10th to 16th, whereas Wisconsin, Mississippi and Alaska all fell five places in the Index to 14th, 22ndand 30th respectively.

Visit to see individual state data and to compare economic outlook over time. To speak with Jonathan Williams about the 10th edition of Rich States, Poor States, or to participate in today’s media call, contact Taylor McCarty at


The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonprofit association of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism. Nearly one quarter of all state legislators are members of ALEC and represent more than 60 million Americans. ALEC member companies, which range from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, create roughly 30 million American jobs. To learn more, visit


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