As some states go up, others go down. And in 2016, some — but not all of it — has to do with the price of oil, which has plunged 50 percent in the past two years. That has rocked budgets and the job market in several states that depend on oil.
Sitting atop the Permian Basin, New Mexico was a big beneficiary of the domestic shale oil boom. An inexpensive place to produce oil because of the geography and the geology, the growth was explosive when oil was above $100 a barrel. But what oil giveth, it taketh away. Gross Domestic product fell 1.1 percent last year.
Its oil spell broken, the Land of Enchantment tumbles 15 places in our rankings to finish 39th this year. Workers have been fleeing the state in droves since the boom died, and because we consider net migration in our Workforce category, New Mexico suffers badly. New Mexico lost some 27-thousand residents last year, according to the Census Bureau. It's one reason the state finishes 42nd for Workforce compared to 16th a year ago.
Other states hurt by the oil drop are No. 42 Oklahoma, which falls 11 spots; and No.12 North Dakota, which drops by 6.
But not every declining state can blame its woes on oil.
Connecticut, which saw some improvement last year on the strength of its workforce, slides back 10 points to finish 43rd. Connecticut workers are still among the nation's most productive based on economic output per job. But the state is losing population — 16,000 people left Connecticut last year. That includes skilled workers, and that hurts its Workforce score.
And Wisconsin, dealing with some self-inflicted budget woes, including revenue shortfalls that forced Gov. Scott Walker to delay a $100 million debt payment last month, slips eight spots to 23rd place.