We explored in our last post the ten states with the highest net employment earnings (wages and employer paid benefits) per capita. The component of per capita income we believe is the key to long term sustainable growth in the standard of living.
And the best measure of the more and better jobs that is the main economic development priority of states and regions.
We found that the top ten states that are not commodity-based are:
•Over-concentrated, compared with the nation, in the proportion of wages coming from knowledge-based services
•Have a high proportion of adults with a four-year degree or more
•Have a big metropolitan area with even higher per capita income than the state
•Have the largest city in that metropolitan area with a high proportion of its residents with a four-year degree or more
In this post lets look at the bottom ten states and see if the same pattern works in reverse. The bottom ten state in 2013 net employment earning per capita are:
Montana | Florida | Alabama | Kentucky | Idaho | South Carolina | New Mexico | West Virginia | Arkansas | Mississippi
Eight of the ten rank 37th or lower in the proportion of adults with four year degrees or more. The two exceptions are Montana (21st) and Florida (30th). Eight of the ten rank in the bottom twenty in proportion of wages from knowledge-based services. The two exceptions are Florida (15th) and New Mexico (25th). None of the ten has a high prosperity big metro or central city in that big metro with a high proportion of college educated residents.
As we saw in our last post Michigan is now far closer to the bottom ten than the top ten. Michigan is 38th in net employment earnings per capita, 26th in proportion of wages from high education industries and 33rd in the proportion of adults with a four year degree. Michigan has never ranked this low with an expanding domestic auto industry. It now is structurally a low-prosperity state. And unless it makes progress on each of the four characteristics of high prosperity states it, almost certainly, will remain a low-prosperity state.