The COVID-19 pandemic sent economic shockwaves through the U.S. economy, tripling the monthly unemployment to nearly 15% and leading to a more than 30% quarterly decline in GDP -- by far the largest economic contraction in U.S. history.

No corner of the country was untouched by the pandemic's economic consequences -- but some states have emerged better off than others. A range of factors, including industrial diversity, labor force education levels, household income, and long-term GDP growth, have an effect on a state's overall economic strength -- and its ability to withstand the impact of the pandemic.

To determine the states with the best and worst economies, both in the years leading up to the pandemic and during it, 24/7 Wall St. created an index of five measures — five-year economic growth, five-year employment growth, the poverty rate, unemployment rate, and share of adults with a bachelor's degree or higher.

In a time when much of the country is struggling to put people back to work, Indiana's job market is a bright spot. Just 3.9% of the labor force in the state are unemployed, well below the 6.0% national jobless rate and only about half a percentage point higher than the unemployment rate in the state this time in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

GDP growth has also been strong in Indiana in recent years. Over the last half decade, the state's economy grew at an average rate of 1.5% a year -- slightly more than the 1.4% national growth and higher than all but 13 other states -- even after weathering a 1.1% contraction during the pandemic.

All index components used to create this ranking were included at equal weight. All data used to create the index came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. Additional state level data on economic output by industry from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is how all 50 state economies rank.

RankStatePoverty rateMarch 2021 unemployment rateAvg. annual employment chg., March 2016 to March 2021Avg. annual GDP chg., Q4 2015 to Q4 2020
1Utah8.9%2.9%+2.0%+3.9%
2Idaho11.2%3.2%+2.3%+3.9%
3Washington9.8%5.4%+1.2%+4.3%
4Colorado9.3%6.4%+1.4%+2.8%
5New Hampshire7.3%3.0%+0.2%+0.6%
6Nebraska9.9%2.9%+0.0%+1.2%
7Minnesota9.0%4.2%-0.1%+1.1%
8Massachusetts9.4%6.8%+0.2%+1.4%
9Georgia13.3%4.5%+1.7%+2.2%
10Oregon11.4%6.0%+0.9%+2.8%
11Virginia9.9%5.1%-0.2%+1.2%
12Kansas11.4%3.7%+0.2%+1.1%
13Montana12.6%3.8%+0.5%+1.2%
14South Dakota11.9%2.9%+0.6%+0.8%
15Florida12.7%4.7%+0.9%+2.2%
16Maryland9.0%6.2%-0.6%+1.0%
17Arizona13.5%6.7%+1.9%+2.9%
18Wisconsin10.4%3.8%-0.2%+0.8%
19Vermont10.2%2.9%-1.9%-0.1%
20North Carolina13.6%5.2%+0.8%+1.7%
21Indiana11.9%3.9%+0.1%+1.5%
22South Carolina13.8%5.1%+0.9%+1.8%
23Maine10.9%4.8%-0.7%+1.0%
24Alabama15.5%3.8%+1.3%+1.1%
25Tennessee13.9%5.0%+1.2%+1.0%
26Missouri12.9%4.2%-0.0%+0.7%
27New Jersey9.2%7.7%-0.9%+0.3%
28Iowa11.2%3.7%-0.9%+0.3%
29Ohio13.1%4.7%+0.0%+0.7%
30North Dakota10.6%4.4%-0.6%-0.4%
31Texas13.6%6.9%+0.6%+1.7%
32California11.8%8.3%-0.6%+2.4%
33Delaware11.3%6.5%+0.4%-0.6%
34Nevada12.5%8.1%+1.5%+1.9%
35Michigan13.0%5.1%-0.6%+0.4%
36Wyoming10.1%5.3%-0.4%-1.6%
37Rhode Island10.8%7.1%-0.8%-0.5%
38Oklahoma15.2%4.2%+0.4%-0.6%
39Pennsylvania12.0%7.3%-0.8%+0.6%
40Illinois11.5%7.1%-1.6%+0.2%
41New York13.0%8.5%-0.8%+0.8%
42Arkansas16.2%4.4%+0.1%+0.6%
43Alaska10.1%6.6%-0.8%-0.8%
44Connecticut10.0%8.3%-2.4%+0.1%
45Kentucky16.3%5.0%-0.1%+0.5%
46Hawaii9.3%9.0%-2.1%-0.5%
47West Virginia16.0%5.9%+0.3%-0.2%
48New Mexico18.2%8.3%-0.1%+1.1%
49Mississippi19.6%6.3%+0.1%+0.5%
50Louisiana19.0%7.3%-0.8%+0.3%