Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A First Look at State GDP

This morning, the government released its first look at state-level GDP for 2011.  To no one's surprise, the fastest growing state was North Dakota, as it benefits from the oil boom (grew by 7.6% in 2011 after growing 9% in 2010).  You may surprised to hear that Oregon was the second fastest growing state followed by West Virginia.  Which state came in last?  After growing while the rest of the country was in recession, Wyoming has now experienced back-to-back years of decline.  Mississippi and Alabama came in 49th and 48th, respectively.  In all, the economies of 6 states shrank in 2011 (add New Jersey, Maine, and Hawaii to the three already listed).

Perhaps more importantly, what has happened to state economies since the start of the Great Recession?  Between 2007 and 2011, US GDP was essentially flat (growth was 0.001%).  However, there has been great divergence when its comes to the performance of state economies.  Which states suffered the most from the Great Recession and its aftermath?  No surprises this time.

Largest Declines in GDP, 2007-2011
  1. Nevada, -9.0%
  2. Michigan, -8.2%
  3. Florida, -7.4%
  4. Arizona, -7.0%
  5. Ohio, -4.9%
Of course three out of the top four states with the weakest economies (Nevada, Florida, and Arizona) were epicenters for the bursting of the housing bubble.  On a more positive note, which ones have experienced the most rapid growth?

Largest Increases in GDP, 2007-2011
  1. North Dakota, +29.8%
  2. Oregon, +14.4%
  3. Louisiana, +10.3%
  4. Alaska, +9.8%
  5. Texas, +7.3%
This time, the most common theme is energy, which had a sizeable impact on four out of the top five performing states (all but Oregon).  In case you were wondering, Washington, D.C. grew by 7.4%.  Though the overall US economy has been stagnant over the last several years, there's been significant differences in regard to the economic performance of the states.