Thursday, December 9th, 2010

State GDP Performance

Note: This post was updated on 12/21/2010 to fix an error in the maps related to Montana. Also, by request, the data behind the maps can be downloaded here.

Gross Domestic Product is the basic measure of economic output. The government released 2009 GDP data for US states recently, so it’s worth taking a look. Here’s a map of percent change in total real GDP from 2000 to 2009, with increases in blue, decreases in red, color intensity proportional to change:

As you can see, Michigan actually experienced a decline in its total real output over the last decade. Given the restructuring of the auto industry, that’s not surprising.

Here’s another view, this one a similar percent change view of real per capita GDP:

Here you can see that Michigan is not alone. Some of the fast growing Sun Belt states added people at a faster rate than they grew economic output. Georgia in particular is worth noting, because even metro Atlanta has been showing declining real per capita GDP. In fact, Georgia actually declined by more than Michigan did on this metric, so obviously all is not well down there. Texas, despite its vaunted jobs engine, is expanding almost totally horizontally. It is 9th lowest in the US on real per capita GDP growth, with a nearly flat 2% performance over the last decade.

North Dakota is also interesting. They are leading the charts, I presume driven by energy and high tech. (Thanks to Great Plains software, I believe Fargo is now Microsoft’s biggest software development center in the US outside Redmond).

Topics: Economic Development

9 Responses to “State GDP Performance”

  1. Chris Barnett says:

    North Dakota is leading the “percent change” charts because it’s a sparsely populated rural state (~650K) that started the decade from a low base of activity as they tried to diversify away from ag commodity production. Likewise Wyoming (~550K), but the low base there was due to low metals and oil/gas prices.

    Also, in previous decades, ND passed favorable credit-card banking laws; Citi and other major banks have North Dakota credit-card subsidiary operations.

    Both qualify as “special cases”; neither has a big city. Fargo has ~100K, Cheyenne about 60K. Those wouldn’t even be big suburbs east of the Mississippi.

    Further analysis of Iowa and Oregon seems warranted, since both have benchmark cities for the Midwestern cities you’ve followed for years. Oklahoma, not so much because its recent success is largely an oil and gas phenomenon. Their state government revenues were late to decline in the recession, but they now have revenue shortfalls and budget problems like other states.

  2. Alon Levy says:

    GDP includes corporate profits, regardless of where the shareholders live. It allows some small international business-oriented states, such as Singapore and Ireland, to have a much higher GDP than you’d expect from their per capita income.

  3. Matt Kures says:

    North Dakota had some particularly good years for agricultural commodities during this period as well.

  4. I notice that Oregon seems to have done pretty well, despite its oft-villified growth control.

  5. My thoughts exactly, Michael! Can we get the hard data, Aaron?

  6. OK, looks like OR ranks sixth in the country by the per-capita GDP change over this period.

  7. Brian W says:

    How did Ohio become the second worst state for % change of GDP?

  8. Very simple, Brian. By not growing its economy at all in the last nine years.

  9. John says:

    Not only did Ohio fail to grow the economy, it must have shrunk it. The per capita map is red and the population isn’t increasing (much).

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