The American Dream Index

Here’s an article from Forbes that rates the 50 states according to the future and viability of their middle class.

Is the economy strong enough to deliver the American dream? Middle-class prosperity, that is?

We address that question with a new index that blends seven economic factors into a single number for each state. Employment growth, layoffs, construction activity and entrepreneurship are among the components in our formula.

The American Dream Index aims to capture a middle-class zeitgeist. Our jobs number focuses on goods-producing employment—in manufacturing, mining, construction and agriculture, that is—because that’s where America is supposed to get great again.

We downplay the service sector, even though service keeps more people busy than production does. Why? Because the service sector too rarely offers the middle-class jobs that used to be the heart of the economy. Neither $150-an-hour doctors nor $9-an-hour retail clerks are part of the middle class.

The Index uses bankruptcies, building permits, goods-producing industries, labor participation rate, layoffs, unemployment claims, and a proxy for entrepreneurship to measure the viability of each state’s middle class.

How do you think El Paso would do if we could compile data for the city?

Yeah, me neither.

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