Ear to the ground:

“What they really should do is go to one pot shop, get ’em high and then drive around to taco stands.”
– One solution to the inevitable over-imbibing of pot shop tours.

State of the union

If it feels like things are looking up, it’s not all pot smoke and mirrors. Colorado was recently ranked No. 1 among states for the health of its economy. The report, which appeared Aug. 4 on Business Insider online, ranked all 50 states on eight economic factors, including unemployment rate, the number of non-farm payroll jobs, gross domestic product, average wages, working age (18-64) population, value of international exports, house prices and auto sales.

Colorado ranked among the top 10 states on five of the metrics, and in the top 15 on the other three. Business Insider credited the state’s “highly diversified” economy, a strong aerospace sector and a huge amount of federal investment, such as the NORAD complex, as putting it over the top. Other areas where “Colorado really shined” included:

- 1.2 percent growth in working age population from 2012-13.
- 2.8 percent growth in non-farm payroll jobs, adding 66,300 jobs between June 2013 and June 2014.
- 3.8 percent growth in the GDP year over year in 2013.

“All in all, Colorado’s economy is broadly growing at a healthy clip, and so it comes in as the overall winner,” read the report.

However, where Colorado failed to shine was in another recent ranking by the publication on the top “most normal” and “most abnormal states.” The good news, we did not make it into the top 11 abnormal states, but on the downside, it did not make it into “most normal” territory either.

Of course, if there’s any room for complaining, it’s in the country’s largest state, Alaska. The Land of the Midnight Sun ranked not only at the bottom for economic health but normalcy as well.

In addition to being one of the few states that lost jobs from 2012-13, it also saw a 2.5 percent drop in GDP. Further adding to its woes was the depletion of many of the state’s oil reserves, which makes up the biggest part of the state’s economy.

And while many things may set it apart form the rest of the country – including distance – Alaska also differs along demographic lines. Not only is there a gender gap – 47.9 percent women compared to 50.5 percent national average – it also has the highest percentage of native residents at 15.5 percent. Alaskans also had a higher median household income: $67,712, as opposed to the U.S. median of $51,371.

For more fun state stats, go to www.businessinsider.com.