States With the Fastest (and Slowest) Growing Economies

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36. Arkansas
> GDP growth:
0.8%
> 2014 GDP: $110.7 billion (17th smallest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.3%(16th smallest)
> 2014 unemployment: 6.1% (23rd highest)

Arkansas’s economy grew by 0.8% in 2014, lower than the national rate of 2.2%. Economic growth in the state was primarily driven by energy production, with the mining sector contributing 0.52 percentage points to the state’s overall GDP growth rate. In fact, according to the most recent available data, the state produced 1,164 trillion BTUs of natural gas, the eighth highest level in the country. Growth in the management of companies and enterprises sector contributed 0.28 percentage points to growth, the 14th highest contribution from that sector nationwide. Arkansas’s economy was hurt the most in 2014 by the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry which retracted by 0.22%.

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37. Hawaii
> GDP growth:
0.8%
> 2014 GDP: $70.5 billion (13th smallest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.8%(19th largest)
> 2014 unemployment: 4.4% (10th lowest)

Hawaii’s GDP grew by 0.8% in 2014, one of the lower growth rates in the country. Still, Hawaii had the highest government contribution to economic growth in the country. The public sector expanded the Hawaii’s economy by 0.34 percentage points, a significant break from the broader national trend of the public sector detracting from economic growth. Nationwide, the government was one of only three industries that detracted from total GDP, shrinking the economy by 0.02 percentage points. Hawaii’s economic growth has been slowing in the last four years. The most significant change was also the most recent, when the economy slowed from a 1.4% growth rate in 2013 to a 0.8% growth rate in 2014.

38. Maryland
> GDP growth:
0.8%
> 2014 GDP: $321.3 billion (15th largest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.6%(24th largest)
> 2014 unemployment: 5.8% (24th lowest)

Maryland’s economy grew 0.8% in 2014, lower than the national growth rate of 2.2%. Though Maryland’s growth rate was relatively low, the state had the 15th highest GDP in the nation at just over $321 billion. Growth was driven primarily by the real estate, rental, and leasing sector, which contributed 0.36 percentage points to the state’s overall GDP growth rate. The professional and technical services sector was a close second, contributing 0.33 percentage points to growth, the 11th highest contribution from that sector nationwide. While Maryland’s economy may not have expanded as fast as many other state economies, the state is doing better than most in several other economic measures. The median household income in Maryland was $72,483, higher than the comparable national figure of $52,250. Also, Maryland’s unemployment rate of 5.8% in 2014, was lower than the national unemployment rate of 6.2%.

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39. Alabama
> GDP growth:
0.7%
> 2014 GDP: $182.3 billion (25th smallest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.3%(22nd smallest)
> 2014 unemployment: 6.8% (10th highest)

With a growth rate of 0.7%, Alabama had one of the slowest growing economies in 2014. Growth was driven primarily by the durable goods sector, which contributed 0.30 percentage points to the state’s overall GDP growth rate. The nondurable goods sector also contributed to growth with 0.24 percentage points, the 12th highest contribution from that sector nationwide. However, industries such as mining and utilities were a drag on the state’s economy, reducing growth by 0.22 and 0.20 percentage points respectively. The utilities industry had the greatest negative impact on economic growth in Alabama than it did anywhere else in the country. Along with relatively low economic growth rates, the state’s poverty rate of 18.7% was higher than the national poverty rate of 15.8%.

40. Nebraska
> GDP growth:
0.7%
> 2014 GDP: $99.2 billion (16th smallest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.7%(21st largest)
> 2014 unemployment: 3.3% (2nd lowest)

In 2014, Nebraska’s economy grew by 0.7%, as did its population. The utilities sector contributed the most to the state’s economic growth, contributing 0.72 percentage points to the state’s GDP growth rate. The management of companies and enterprises sector contributed 0.30 percentage points to growth, the ninth highest contribution from that sector nationwide. Although the trend across the nation was a shrinking public sector, with government detracting from the country’s GDP by 0.02 percentage points, the sector contributed to Nebraska’s growth 0.02 percentage points.