Special Report

Ten States With the Slowest Growing Economies

7. Tennessee
> GDP growth: 0.8%
> 2013 GDP: $287.6 (19th highest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.63% (24th lowest)
> 2013 unemployment: 8.2% (8th highest)

Compared with strong GDP growth rates of 2.8% in 2011 and 3.3% in 2012, Tennessee’s 0.8% 2013 economic growth was exceptionally weak. Like Alabama, the government sector had a negative impact on Tennessee’s GDP growth. Durable goods manufacturing also weighed down growth in Tennessee, which is home to Nissan, Volkswagen and General Motors plants. The state was among the nation’s poorest, with a median household income of less than $43,000 in 2012, versus more than $51,000 nationwide. That year, nearly 18% of residents lived in poverty, while 17.7% of households relied on food stamps, both among the highest rates nationwide. The 8.2% unemployment rate in 2013 was among the highest in the country.

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6. Missouri
> GDP growth: 0.8%
> 2013 GDP: $276.3 billion (22nd highest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.33% (16th lowest)
> 2013 unemployment: 6.5% (tied-18th lowest)

Missouri’s economy has underperformed the U.S.’s every year since 2010. This was especially the case for the nondurable goods sector last year, which was the top-contributing industry to nationwide growth but dragged down state GDP growth by 0.12 percentage points, more than any other state. However, not all news was bad for the state, as durable goods manufacturing actually contributed 0.27 percentage points to growth. Additionally, the state’s unemployment rate in 2013 was just 6.5% — lower than the national rate of 7.4%. Job growth in the state has been relatively strong over the past year, altough Missouri has yet to recover all jobs lost during the Great Recession.

5. New York
> GDP growth: 0.7%
> 2013 GDP: $1.3 trillion (3rd highest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.38% (20th lowest)
> 2013 unemployment: 7.7% (14th highest)

New York’s economy is one of the largest in the U.S., trailing only Texas and California. The state’s total output exceeded $1.3 trillion in 2013. The financial and insurance industries are among the major industries in the state and have collectively accounted for more than 15% of its output last year. However, the financial and insurance industries were also a drag on growth in 2013, responsible for a more than 0.1 percentage point drop in GDP growth, among the worst figures nationwide for the sector. The government sector also served as a drag on GDP growth, especially troubling in a state with the nation’s highest state and local tax burden, according to the Tax Foundation. Governor Andrew Cuomo has worked to address the state’s fiscal imbalance by cutting spending while also reducing the state’s burdensome taxes.