Louisiana ranks high on Index of State Economic Momentum

Louisiana placed ninth among the 50 states on an Index of State Economic Momentum, which ranks states on their most recent performance on three key measures of economic vitality: personal income growth, employment growth and population growth. Federal Funds Information for States compiled the rating. FFIS is a non-partisan subscription service created by the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks and reports on the fiscal impact of federal budget and policy decisions on state budgets and programs.

Last week, FFIS issued its annual Camelot Index, comparing how the 50 states rate on measures of economic vitality, education, health, crime and governance. Louisiana ranked dead last. But the new rating indicates that if Louisiana is not Camelot, it is outpacing most other states on income and jobs growth.

On personal income growth, Louisiana ranked 13th, of the 50 states, with 4.73 percent growth from the last quarter of 2010 to the last quarter of 2011, surpassing the national growth rate of 4.6 percent. Louisiana’s 2.2 percent employment growth between February 2011 and February 2012 placed it sixth among the states.

Louisiana’s weakest performance was on population growth, where it ranked 26th, right in the middle among the states. It’s 0.6 percent population growth between July 2010 and July 2011 was just below the national population growth rate of 0.7 percent.
The top ten states on the overall index, in addition to Louisiana were, in order, North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Colorado, Iowa, Washington, Tennessee and Wyoming. The ten lagging states, with negative momentum, were, from the bottom up, Mississippi, Alabama, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Delaware, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, Arkansas and Montana.

While it is not part of the index, the FFIS report also noted that Louisiana’s unemployment rate of 7 percent in February was below the national average of 8.3 percent. North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.1 percent. Nevada had the highest rate at 12.3 percent. The Texas rate of 7.1 percent was about the same as Louisiana’s. California had the third highest rate, at 10.9 percent.

What sunk Louisiana on the Camelot Index were such measures as its high crime rate, high rate of infant mortality and high proportion of single-parent families.