How Productive Are Workers in Your State?
Ever wonder how much you contribute to the nation’s economy?
In 2008, the average American old enough to be employed full time (16 and up) contributed $33.07 per hour worked toward the country’s gross domestic product, according to a recent analysis of labor data by MainStreet. To put that in context, the total GDP for that year was approximately $14.2 trillion.
We sorted through data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, breaking down the nation’s total GDP as well as the output from each state as of 2008, the most recent year available. We then factored in the total number of residents living in each state who were 16 or older that year, as well as the average number of hours they worked per week, both stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
We discovered that the amount individual workers contribute to the economy varies widely from state to state, so we rounded up the 10 states where workers contribute the most to the nation’s economy, followed by the 10 states that contribute the least.
Those at the bottom of the list need to get their acts together and stop slacking off. After all, we’ve got a huge national debt that is only getting larger, and a stagnant economy that we need to work our way out of. It’s time for them to start carrying their weight.
Photo Credit: gregor_y
10th Most Productive: California
Overall, California contributes more to the nation’s gross domestic product than any other state, partly because it is dense with resources and has the largest population in the country, with more than 28 million residents of working age. Still, there are several other states where individual workers are actually more productive than in the Golden State.
Hourly GDP Per Person: $36.45
Total State GDP: $1.85 trillion
Photo Credit: worldsurfer
8th Most Productive: New Jersey
The cast of MTV’s Jersey Shore may not be the best example of hard work, but residents of this state contribute more to the nation’s economy per hour than almost any other.
Hourly GDP Per Person: $39.53
Total State GDP: $474.9 billion
Photo Credit: shanafin
7th Most Productive: Massachusetts
Not only is Massachusetts one of the most productive states in the country, but workers here rank among the best educated as well.
Hourly GDP Per Person: 39.71
Total State GDP: $364.98 billion
Photo Credit: Getty
6th Most Productive: New York
After California, New York has the largest gross domestic product of any state in the country and the third most workers over the age of 16. So it only makes sense that the Big Apple would be among the biggest contributors to the nation’s economy.
Hourly GDP Per Person: $41.31
Total State GDP: $1.14 trillion
Photo Credit: joiseyshowaa
4th Most Productive: Wyoming
Wyoming’s total GDP may be lower than most, but when you consider that they have the fewest workers over the age of 16 of any state (about 419,000), it turns out that those who are employed produce more per hour than almost any other state.
Hourly GDP Per Person: $44.13
Total State GDP: $35.31 billion
Photo Credit: 52890443@N02
The Most Productive: District of Columbia
We may criticize the folks in Washington for not doing enough to help the country, but the truth is that those who do work in this city contribute more than anyone to the country’s economy. In fact, workers in D.C. produce more than twice as much per hour as any state in the union, though of course it is worth noting that D.C. is a bit of an exception to the rule, given that it is really just a dense metropolis. As a result, though there are relatively few workers there, D.C.’s GDP is still relatively high, which means each person effectively contributes a lot to the economy.
Hourly GDP Per Person: $105.99
Total State GDP: $97.24 billion
Photo Credit: Vinoth Chandar
10th Least Productive: Florida
Unfortunately, the data just reaffirm one stereotype about the Orange State. When you think of Florida, you think of retired people and swimsuit-clad vacationers relaxing in the sun, not workers toiling away behind a desk.
Hourly GDP Per Person: $27.48
Total State GDP: $744.12 billion
Photo Credit: Karen Horton
9th Least Productive: Michigan
Michigan is known as the center of the auto industry in this country. However, the auto industry hasn’t exactly been doing too well recently, and as a result Michigan, more than most states, experienced a crunch in its production power and GDP during the recession.
Hourly GDP Per Person: $27.18
Total State GDP: $382.54 billion
Photo Credit: mrt77
8th Least Productive: Idaho
Maybe all the starch from those potatoes is slowing these workers down, because this state has a smaller GDP than Delaware despite having nearly twice as many workers over the age of 16.
Hourly GDP Per Person: $25.87
Total State GDP: $52.75 billion
Photo Credit: amderson2
6th Least Productive: Alabama
Residents of Alabama not only contribute less on average to the country’s economy, but they also pump less money into their own bank accounts than other states. It ranks as one of the poorest states in America.
Hourly GDP Per Person: $24.74
Total State GDP: $170 billion
Photo Credit: southernpixel
4th Least Productive: Arkansas
While Arkansas may not contribute as much per person to the national economy as other states, residents here are generally better off financially in at least one way. Arkansas has one of the lowest rates of state debt per capita.
Hourly GDP Per Person: $24.1
Total State GDP: $98.33 billion
Photo Credit: StuSeeger
3rd Least Productive: South Carolina
Between having a governor who goes AWOL for love and a current Senate candidate who has been indicted on a felony, South Carolina certainly has enough problems to deal with. So I guess when they’re done dealing with all that, they can start thinking about how to be more productive. No rush.
Hourly GDP Per Person: $23.87
Total State GDP: $156.38 billion
Photo Credit: Shoshanah
2nd Least Productive: West Virginia
West Virginia has one of the lowest GDPs in the country, despite having nearly 1.5 million people of working age.
Hourly GDP Per Person: $22.83
Total State GDP: $61.7 billion
Photo Credit: bradwicklund
The Least Productive: Mississippi
Mississippi has a way of ending up at the bottom end of most state rankings. It’s been ranked the worst state for kids, has the most residents living in poverty and has one of the poorest education systems in the country. And now, we can add one more thing to that list: It’s also the least productive state in America.
Hourly GDP Per Person: $21.93
Total State GDP: $91.78 billion
Photo Credit: Ken Lund
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