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.

With a higher than average per capita infection rate and a nation-leading death rate, New Jersey has been hit hard by COVID-19. The pandemic has also had devastating consequences for the state's economy. Due to job losses during the pandemic, there are about 320,600 fewer jobs in the state than there were at this time last year. Currently, New Jersey's unemployment rate of 7.7% is seventh highest among states and well above the 6.0% national rate.

Despite the economic damage wrought by the pandemic, other aspects of New Jersey's economy are signs of strength. Home to one of the best-educated workforces in the country, New Jersey is one of only four states where more than 40% of adults have a bachelor's degree. Additionally, only 9.2% of New Jersey residents live below the poverty line, well below the 12.3% national poverty rate.

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%