SALEM, Ore. — A recent study by personal finance site WalletHub ranked Oregon among the top ten strongest state economies in the U.S., coming in at #8.
California recently became the fifth largest economy in the world, while Alaska has an unemployment rate over 6 percent. Variations like these, according to WalletHub, inspired the study as a way of examining how state economies are performing by different metrics.
The report found Washington state's economy to be the very top contender, followed by Utah, Massachusetts, California, Colorado, Washington D.C., Idaho, and Oregon. The West Coast performed well overall, due in large part to high levels of innovation.
"In order to determine which states are pulling the most weight, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 28 key indicators of economic performance and strength," study author Adam McCann wrote. "Our data set ranges from GDP growth to startup activity to share of jobs in high-tech industries."
According to WalletHub, Oregon also boasted the third highest state-government surplus per capita — a phenomenon that has translated into debat over the "kicker" rebate for Oregon taxpayers — and the third highest average for educational attainment of recent immigrants, meaning that many people moving into the state have attained degrees in higher education.
Oregon also tied with California, Massachusetts, and Washington for the most independent inventor patents per 1,000 working-age citizens.
The study compared states across three major points: Economic activity, economic health, and innovation potential. Economic activity included factors like GDP growth, exports per capita, and startup activity. Economic health included unemployment rate, total civilian labor force, and poverty levels. Finally, innovation potential included share of jobs in high-tech industries, share of STEM employment, and entrepreneurial activity.