It’s been nearly nine years since America fell into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. While the recovery has been slow and steady on the whole, some states have bounced back stronger than others.
As part of its 2017 best states ranking, U.S. News & World Report ranked each US state on three economic indicators:
- Growth: GDP growth from 2012 to 2015, growth rate of the total population aged 25 to 29 between 2012 and 2015, and average net migration (people moving to and from the state).
- Employment: The annual growth of nonfarm jobs from 2012 to 2015, the percentage of residents age 16 or older who participated in the labor force in 2015, and the November 2016 unemployment rate.
- Business: The number of new businesses formed between 2013 and 2015 and the average number of patents per 1 million residents granted during the same period.
U.S. News then combined these rankings — growth (50%), employment (30%), business (20%) — to form its list of states with the strongest economies.
The country’s most populous states — California, Texas, and Florida — all appear on the list. But it’s Colorado and North Dakota that come out on top, with high marks for young population growth and job opportunities.
Read on to see the top 15 states where young people are moving in, jobs are plentiful, and business is booming.