The study uses metrics including year-over-year job growth, 2018 economy rank, and evaluates the major employers based in the state to rank states. Regionally, eight out of the 10 states are out West, with Utah at the top of the heap and North Carolina and West Virginia as the only outliers. North Carolina, ninth, has 2.3 percent job growth YOY, has an "A" 2018 economy rank from CNBC, and is home to major employers Walmart and Wells Fargo.
Things were not going to get much worse for the Mountain State after four years of steady job losses. A decline in coal production has hurt the state's economy hard, with mining employment down 40 percent in just the past six years. West Virginia’s job market rebounded significantly in the past year, adding about 17,000 new jobs, thanks to an uptick in construction as well as rising coal production. But state economists warn that coal production — and job growth — are likely to level off soon.