According to a recent report by WalletHub, Wyoming ranked 45th in states across the country in terms of the quality of its economy.

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The report ranked each state by a variety of factors, including things like the state GDP, unemployment rate, foreclosure rate, high-tech jobs, entrepreneurship, startup activity, uninsured rate, and poverty.

West Virginia was ranked dead last for its economy over the past year, with a total score of 26.1, compared to Wyoming's 34.38, while Washington state ranked first with a score of 73.83.

While Wyoming was ranked 39th for economic activity and 24th for economic health, it was innovation, which Wyoming ranked 49th, that put the state near the bottom of the list.

Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub, said the reason for the low rating in innovation is due in part to something like the low number of jobs in the high-tech industry, which according to the report is 2.37%.

"As far as not having as many jobs in the high-tech industry, etcetera, I think a lot of that just comes down to the industries that Wyoming is most involved in to begin with," Gonzalez said. "So obviously a lot of things having to do with agriculture, moreso getting into logistics, which might help now, tourism boomed over the pandemic but not necessarily having to do with high-tech industry."

When it comes to what Wyoming could do to address the issues the state faces in terms of innovation, Gonzalez said there are many ways to address the issue.

"As far as helping to have an economy either recover from the impact of the pandemic or look forward to whatever comes next for us in terms of the U.S. economy in general, I think a lot of that has to do with diversifying your industries," Gonzalez said. "Whether that looks like making sure that there's no brain drain, highly educated people leaving for elsewhere, making sure there is either tax incentives in place, or like-minded people in Wyoming, in general, to offer advice, to offer funding, for people to stay put and to draw that entrepreneur activity to Wyoming."

Governor Mark Gordon has made some efforts during his administration to try to address the issue of innovation, as the Wyoming Innovation Partnership has attempted to put more funding into training and retaining a more skilled workforce.

Gonzalez said that while Wyoming has been unsuccessful so far, there's no reason that Wyoming can't make an effort to draw in high-tech jobs.

"I would say there's no essentially brain gain, so not necessarily drawing anyone in for those industries, which makes sense because it's something that hasn't really been seen there before," Gonzalez said. "But, that's not to say that it can't happen. Take Salt Lake City in Utah for instance, which is kind of becoming this big tech hub just over the past few years or so. Who's to say that can't be done in Wyoming as well."

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