America’s Fastest Growing (and Shrinking) Economies

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Fastest Growing Economies

10. Trenton-Ewing, NJ
> 2013 GMP change: 4.2%
> 2013 change in employment: 2.0% (tied-65th best)
> Projected 2014 GMP change: 1.5% (69th worst)
> Unemployment rate: 6.4% (143rd lowest)

The Trenton area’s economy grew at an increasingly fast pace in each of the last three years. The area’s GMP growth rate rose from 2.2% in 2011 to 4.2% last year. Employment rose by 2% last year, slightly higher than the national growth rate. However, the area’s economic news has not been all positive. The area’s GMP growth rate is expected to decrease to 1.5% in 2014, less than the IHS projected U.S. growth rate of 2.7% in 2014. Super Bowl XLVIII, being held at East Rutherford, New Jersey, is expected to benefit many parts of northern New Jersey, as well as New York City. Trenton, however, may not profit as much as other towns despite its relative proximity.

9. Columbus, IN
> 2013 GMP change: 4.3%
> 2013 change in employment: 3.5% (13th best)
> Projected 2014 GMP change: 3.8% (14th best)
> Unemployment rate: 5.5% (72nd lowest)

Columbus’ economy has had exceptionally strong growth in the last few years. The area’s economy grew by nearly 10% in 2012, the fifth fastest rate in the U.S. And although the area’s economic growth rate of 4.3% was slower last year, it was still among the fastest rates in the nation. The area is highly dependent on manufacturing, and according to a 2012 report from Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., it highly “exemplifies the intriguing potential, and inherent risks, that come with relying on the manufacturing sector.” Engine and motor vehicle parts makers are a huge part of the area’s economy, where manufacturing jobs accounted for nearly 20,000 of the 53,000 total jobs as of November.

ALSO READ: American Cities Adding (and Losing) the Most Jobs

8. Cheyenne, WY
> 2013 GMP change: 4.4%
> 2013 change in employment: 3.6% (10th best)
> Projected 2014 GMP change: 1.1% (34th worst)
> Unemployment rate: 4.6% (32nd lowest)

Cheyenne is Wyoming’s capital and its most populous city. While the city’s economy grew by a fast 4.4% clip last year, its expansion hasn’t been consistent in the last few years. Cheyenne’s economy actually contracted by 1.2% in 2011, even as the GMP of more than 260 of the nation’s 363 metro areas grew that year. Last year’s high growth rate isn’t expected to continue this year. IHS Global Insight estimated that the area’s output will increase by just 1.1% in 2014, lower than the 2% growth rate estimated for the vast majority of metro areas.

7. St. Joseph, MO-KS
> 2013 GMP change: 4.5%
> 2013 change in employment: 1.8% (92nd best)
> Projected 2014 GMP change: 2.3% (tied-144th best)
> Unemployment rate: 5.2% (61st lowest)

The St. Joseph metro area’s economy grew by almost 10% in 2012. And while the area failed to grow at the same pace last year, the unemployment rate in the area, as of November, was just 5.2%, well below the national rate. The area is a major center for agricultural sciences and animal health businesses. According to IHS estimates, construction activity in area is expected to increase substantially in the next few years, while wages are expected to rise steadily as well.

ALSO READ: Cities with the Widest Gap Between the Rich and Poor

6. Bismarck, ND
> 2013 GMP change: 4.9%
> 2013 change in employment: 3.0% (25th best)
> Projected 2014 GMP change: 3.5% (27th best)
> Unemployment rate: 2.4% (the lowest)

North Dakota has been going through one of the largest economic booms of any state in the last few years due to increased activity in the Bakken formation. Bismarck has reaped the benefits of this boom. The metro area’s GMP grew by 8.5% in 2012, the seventh largest growth rate of any metropolitan area that year. As of November, no metropolitan area had a lower unemployment rate than Bismarck, where just 2.4% of the labor force was without a job. According to The Bismarck Tribune, the pace of the oil boom in the region has slowed but is still expanding rapidly. IHS estimates Bismarck’s GMP will increase by 3.5% this year, still one of the largest increases of any metro area.