Ky. ranks in top 10 of worst-run states, Ind. not far behind

(USA Today) - In the United States, the federal government is the ultimate legislative authority — wielding the power to regulate commerce, declare war, as well as establish and maintain a currency. Beyond that, however, the U.S. Constitution grants states considerable leverage in the management of their own internal affairs.

Social and economic outcomes in a given state are often the product of a range of historic circumstances, including — but not limited to — the presence of major companies or universities, natural resources, and prevailing political ideology. While some of these conditions are outside the government’s control, states have the power to plan and react to economic and social conditions through carefully crafted fiscal policies and budgetary priorities.

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for effective state governance, and in this way, no two states are exactly alike. Still, some states are managed far more proficiently than others.

For the eighth year in a row, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed economic indicators, budget allocations, and balance sheets, in addition to a range of social measures to rank how well each state is run. These are the best and worst run states in the country.

1. Minnesota

  • 2016 Unemployment: 3.9% (13th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 79.8% (18th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 9.9% (6th lowest)

2. Utah

  • 2016 Unemployment: 3.4% (8th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 85.7% (12th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aaa/Stable
  • Poverty: 10.2% (7th lowest)

3. Iowa

  • 2016 Unemployment: 3.7% (10th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 85.1% (13th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aaa/Stable
  • Poverty: 11.8% (18th lowest)

4. Oregon

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.9% (20th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 91.9% (6th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 13.3% (24th highest)

5. Washington

  • 2016 Unemployment: 5.4% (9th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 87.1% (10th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 11.3% (14th lowest)

6. Nebraska

  • 2016 Unemployment: 3.2% (5th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 91.3% (8th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: N/A/Stable
  • Poverty: 11.4% (15th lowest)

7. North Dakota

  • 2016 Unemployment: 3.2% (5th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 70.4% (22nd lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Negative
  • Poverty: 10.7% (10th lowest)

8. Idaho

  • 2016 Unemployment: 3.8% (11th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 91.8% (7th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 14.4% (19th highest)

9. Colorado

  • 2016 Unemployment: 3.3% (7th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 60.4% (8th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 11.0% (12th lowest)

10. Hawaii

  • 2016 Unemployment: 3.0% (3rd lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 62.4% (11th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 9.3% (2nd lowest)

11. Texas

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.6% (23rd lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 75.6% (22nd highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aaa/Stable
  • Poverty: 15.6% (12th highest)

12. Massachusetts

  • 2016 Unemployment: 3.7% (10th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 62.0% (10th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 10.4% (9th lowest)

13. South Dakota

  • 2016 Unemployment: 2.8% (2nd lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 104.1% (the highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aaa/Stable
  • Poverty: 13.3% (24th highest)

14. California

  • 2016 Unemployment: 5.4% (9th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 74.0% (25th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa3/Stable
  • Poverty: 14.3% (20th highest)

15. Delaware

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.4% (21st lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 89.3% (9th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aaa/Stable
  • Poverty: 11.7% (16th lowest)

16. Michigan

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.9% (20th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 63.7% (14th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 15.0% (15th highest)

17. New Hampshire

  • 2016 Unemployment: 2.8% (2nd lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 65.5% (17th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 7.3% (the lowest)

18. Montana

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.1% (17th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 74.5% (25th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 13.3% (24th highest)

19. Vermont

  • 2016 Unemployment: 3.3% (7th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 67.8% (20th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aaa/Stable
  • Poverty: 11.9% (19th lowest)

20. Wisconsin

> 2016 Unemployment: 4.1% (17th lowest)
Pension funded ratio: 98.3% (2nd highest)
Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Positive
Poverty: 11.8% (18th lowest)

 

21. Wyoming

2016 Unemployment: 5.3% (13th highest)
Pension funded ratio: 73.1% (24th lowest)
> Credit rating and outlook: N/A
Poverty: 11.3% (14th lowest)

 

22. Florida

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.9% (20th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 86.5% (11th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 14.7% (16th highest)

23. North Carolina

  • 2016 Unemployment: 5.1% (16th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 95.5% (4th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aaa/Stable
  • Poverty: 15.4% (13th highest)

24. Tennessee

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.8% (25th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 95.4% (5th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aaa/Stable
  • Poverty: 15.8% (11th highest)

25. Georgia

  • 2016 Unemployment: 5.4% (9th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 80.9% (17th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aaa/Stable
  • Poverty: 16.0% (10th highest)

26. Maryland

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.3% (19th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 68.2% (21st lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aaa/Stable
  • Poverty: 9.7% (3rd lowest)

 

27. Nevada

  • 2016 Unemployment: 5.7% (8th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 75.1% (23rd highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa2/Stable
  • Poverty: 13.8% (23rd highest)

28. Virginia

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.0% (15th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 74.6% (24th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aaa/Stable
  • Poverty: 11.0% (12th lowest)

29. Indiana

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.4% (21st lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 64.6% (15th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aaa/Stable
  • Poverty: 14.1% (21st highest)

Like its neighbors Michigan and Ohio, Indiana is overly dependent on its once-strong manufacturing sector. American manufacturing has been in decline for decades, and currently, some 18.8% of workers in Indiana are employed in manufacturing jobs, the largest share of any state. Over-reliance on a single industry can make an economy more susceptible to economic downturns. Despite its dependence on manufacturing, Indiana’s economy appears to be stronger than most. Only 4.4% of the state’s labor force was out of a job in 2016, below the 4.9% U.S. annual unemployment rate.

 

30. Maine

  • 2016 Unemployment: 3.9% (13th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 82.5% (14th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa2/Stable
  • Poverty: 12.5% (21st lowest)

 

31. Ohio

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.9% (20th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 76.4% (21st highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 14.6% (18th highest)

 

32. New York

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.8% (25th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 98.1% (3rd highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 14.7% (16th highest)

33. Arizona

  • 2016 Unemployment: 5.3% (13th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 63.2% (12th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa2/Stable
  • Poverty: 16.4% (8th highest)

34. South Carolina

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.8% (25th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 57.8% (7th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aaa/Stable
  • Poverty: 15.3% (14th highest)

35. Kansas

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.2% (18th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 64.9% (16th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa2/Negative
  • Poverty: 12.1% (20th lowest)

36. Arkansas

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.0% (15th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 82.4% (15th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 17.2% (6th highest)

37. Alaska

  • 2016 Unemployment: 6.6% (2nd highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 67.5% (19th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa3/Negative
  • Poverty: 9.9% (6th lowest)

38. Connecticut

  • 2016 Unemployment: 5.1% (16th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 49.4% (4th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa3/Negative
  • Poverty: 9.8% (4th lowest)

39. Missouri

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.5% (22nd lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 81.4% (16th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aaa/Stable
  • Poverty: 14.0% (22nd highest)

40. Kentucky

  • 2016 Unemployment: 5.0% (18th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 37.8% (2nd lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa3/Stable
  • Poverty: 18.5% (4th highest)

While the availability of jobs is subject to a range of factors, including some outside of a government’s control, a low unemployment rate can be indicative of sound economic policy. Kentucky’s October 2017 unemployment rate of 5.0% is well above the comparable 4.1% U.S. monthly unemployment rate. The state’s unemployment is higher than average even as the labor force has shrunk. In the last half-decade, the number of workers in Kentucky fell by 3.1%, nearly the largest decline of any state.

Like many of the worst run states, Kentucky is failing to meet its pension obligations. Only 37.8% of the state’s pension system is funded, the second worst pension funded ratio among states.

 

41. West Virginia

  • 2016 Unemployment: 6.0% (4th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 76.9% (20th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa2/Stable
  • Poverty: 17.9% (5th highest)

42. Oklahoma

  • 2016 Unemployment: 4.9% (20th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 79.2% (19th highest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa2/Negative
  • Poverty: 16.3% (9th highest)

43. Illinois

  • 2016 Unemployment: 5.9% (6th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 40.2% (3rd lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Baa3/Negative
  • Poverty: 13.0% (24th lowest)

44. Rhode Island

  • 2016 Unemployment: 5.3% (13th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 57.1% (6th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa2/Stable
  • Poverty: 12.8% (22nd lowest)

45. New Jersey

  • 2016 Unemployment: 5.0% (18th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 37.5% (the lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: A3/Negative
  • Poverty: 10.4% (9th lowest)

46. Pennsylvania

  • 2016 Unemployment: 5.4% (9th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 55.8% (5th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa3/Stable
  • Poverty: 12.9% (23rd lowest)

47. Alabama

  • 2016 Unemployment: 6.0% (4th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 67.0% (18th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 17.1% (7th highest)

48. Mississippi

  • 2016 Unemployment: 5.8% (7th highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 61.8% (9th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa2/Negative
  • Poverty: 20.8% (the highest)

49. New Mexico

  • 2016 Unemployment: 6.7% (the highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 70.6% (23rd lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Negative
  • Poverty: 19.8% (3rd highest)

50. Louisiana

  • 2016 Unemployment: 6.1% (3rd highest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 63.3% (13th lowest)
  • Credit rating and outlook: Aa3/Negative
  • Poverty: 20.2% (2nd highest)

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