Economic Health as Measured by the Geo Score – Delmarva Worth Watching

Categories: Commentary, Uncategorized |

September 2, 2014

This week we take a look at the newly released DIVER Geo Scores for August 2014.

The DIVER Geo Score represents a relative score of the economic health of a U.S. State, county or city.  Based on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the best, this data is updated monthly and is calculated from multiple economic and demographic factors related to three primary data categories—employment, income and housing.

State Geo Scores Show Small Shifts; MD, VA, NJ and NY Among States to Watch

The tally of top ten strongest states by DIVER Geo Score reflects a few changes this month.  Virginia displaced Nebraska on the list; Massachusetts slipped slightly; and Hawaii moved up several notches.  This month’s movements in Massachusetts and Virginia ran counter to longer-term trends for the two states; we will look at these trends in more detail below.   Over the last year, Washington, Indiana, and Nevada have shown the most improvement in relative economic health.


The list of states with the relatively weakest economies remained the same in August vs. July.  There were some shifts in ranking:  Nevada, Michigan, and South Carolina showed some deterioration, while Florida and Kentucky improved slightly.   Notable for negative changes to the Geo Score are several relatively strong states: Alaska (-1.4) and Maryland (-1.6).

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The DIVER Geo Score is a valuable tool to identify states with economies in flux: strong states getting weaker (like Alaska and Maryland) or weak states getting stronger.  In the chart below, we plot current value of the DIVER Geo Score for each state vs. the year over year change in its DIVER Geo Score.

State Level DIVER Geo Score

(Current Value vs. 1 Year Change)

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Source:  DIVER Analytics, DIVER Data Solutions

The bottom right quadrant of the chart displays states with strong economies, which have been relatively underperforming.

New York and Delmarva Areas have been lagging

We note that states in the New York metro area (NY, NJ) and in the Delmarva area (MD, VA) are showing weakness.   In the chart below we look at the history of DIVER Geo Scores for these areas. A comparison to New England is instructive.  The graph highlights the shifts in regional economic health; while the New York and Delmarva areas have been getting weaker; the New England states have been strengthening.

State Level DIVER Geo Score

(Regional Averages)

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Source:  DIVER Analytics, DIVER Data Solutions

Counties Around DC and Baltimore Have Been Slipping

The deterioration in the Delmarva area is remarkable (almost 2 full Geo Score points).  The health of the economies of the suburban counties in Washington, D.C. / Baltimore area is a major contributor to regional trends.  While Fairfax and Arlington counties in Virginia remain among the healthiest in the country, other counties in the area have been showing signs of weakness. The chart below shows the year over year change for the larger counties in the area.

DIVER Geo Score –DC/Baltimore Area Counties

(Year over Year Change)

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Source:  DIVER Analytics, DIVER Data Solutions

We will explore these issues in more detail in a future Commentary. In the meantime, investors should monitor positions in Prince George’s, Harford, Carroll and Frederick counties in Maryland.

Have a great week,


Mike Craft
Managing Director, Credit, Lumesis, Inc.



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