North Carolina ranks third in economic outlook

Apr 19, 2017


Arlington, VA  – North Carolina is ranked third in the nation in economic outlook, followed by North Dakota and Tennessee, and surpassed only by Indiana and Utah, according to the recently released report by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index.

The publication is celebrating its 10th edition with the launch of a new website that gives users the ability to compare and contrast economic trends of the last decade, featuring a new tool showing how particular policy adjustments can change the economic outlook ranking of an individual state. The Tar Heel State remains in the top 3 for the second consecutive year and in the top 10 for the fourth consecutive year.

State lawmakers have relied upon Rich States, Poor States as a guide for measuring the economic competitiveness of their states since 2008. The publication is authored by Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, a member of Ronald Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board, Stephen Moore, distinguished visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and Jonathan Williams, ALEC Chief Economist and Vice President of the ALEC Center for State Fiscal Reform.

“North Carolina serves as a beacon of hope to other states considering the merits of tax reform. Largely due to these reforms, the state has rocketed from 22nd to third place in terms of economic competitiveness, according to the upcoming 10th edition of Rich States, Poor States,” said Jonathan Williams. “The fruit of years of hard work by lawmakers to implement broad-based, pro-growth tax reform is evidenced by the fastest state GDP growth in the nation, $4.5 billion of tax cuts since 2013, hundreds of thousands of new jobs and a half-billion dollars in unexpected surplus revenue. The Tar Heel State is well deserving of their top-three ranking.”


Top Ten Bottom Ten
1. Utah 41. Oregon
2. Indiana 42. Maine
3. North Carolina 43. Hawaii
4. North Dakota 44. Illinois
5. Tennessee 45. Minnesota
6. Florida 46. Connecticut
7. Wyoming 47. California
8. Arizona 48. New Jersey
9. Texas 49. Vermont
10. Idaho 50. New York

According to, many states significantly improved or fell in the index. Delaware rose seven spots but still remains at a dismal 37th. West Virginia also climbed six spots from 37th to 31st. On the other hand, Oklahoma dropped six places from 10thto 16th, whereas Wisconsin, Mississippi and Alaska all fell five places in the Index to 14th, 22nd and 30th respectively.


The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonprofit association of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism. Nearly one quarter of all state legislators are members of ALEC and represent more than 60 million Americans. ALEC member companies, which range from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, create roughly 30 million American jobs.