“For the last three years, we’ve been the number one economy in America.”
— Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper
We previously awarded Two Pinocchios to Hickenlooper for this claim.
He presided over boom times in Colorado as a two-term governor, having left office in January, but he goes into specious territory by describing it as the No. 1 economy from 2016 through 2018.
California, Oregon and Washington state outperformed Colorado in gross domestic product growth all three years; Hawaii and North Dakota had lower unemployment rates.
Hickenlooper’s campaign told us he was referring to a ranking from U.S. News and World Report.
But there are different rankings out there, their methodologies vary, and Hickenlooper never says this claim comes from a magazine ranking.
That matters because CNBC ranked Colorado’s economy in eighth place among all states last year. WalletHub ranked Colorado’s economy in fifth place. The lesson here is that “number one economy” is in the eye of the beholder when relying on rankings such as these, and Hickenlooper can’t assume audiences will know what he’s referring to.