States With the Fastest (and Slowest) Growing Economies

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41. Connecticut
> GDP growth:
0.6%
> 2014 GDP: $232.6 billion (23rd largest)
> 1-yr. population change: -0.1%(3rd smallest)
> 2014 unemployment: 6.6% (13th highest)

Connecticut’s economy grew by 0.6%, one of the lowest growth rates in the country and lower than the national growth rate of 2.2%. Despite its relatively slow pace of growth, the state’s GDP was more than $232.6 billion, larger than in most states. Growth was driven primarily by the professional and technical services sector, which contributed 0.38 percentage points to the state’s overall growth. Last year’s growth was slower than the 2013 GDP growth rate of 1.0%. The weaker growth was due in part to declines in the durable and nondurable goods industries, which detracted 0.33 and 0.13 percentage points from GDP growth, respectively.

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42. South Dakota
> GDP growth:
0.6%
> 2014 GDP: $39.8 billion (4th smallest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.9%(16th largest)
> 2014 unemployment: 3.4% (3rd lowest)

South Dakota’s economy grew by 0.6%, lower than the national growth rate of 2.2%. Growth was driven primarily by the wholesale trade sector, which contributed 0.39 percentage points to the state’s overall growth. The agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry had the biggest drag on the state’s economy, reducing overall growth by 1.12 percentage points. Though South Dakota had one of the lowest GDP growth rates in the country in 2014, the state also had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. At 3.4%, South Dakota’s unemployment rate was the third lowest in the country and nearly half the national rate of 6.2%.

43. Vermont
> GDP growth:
0.6%
> 2014 GDP: $27.2 billion (the smallest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.0%(6th smallest)
> 2014 unemployment: 4.1% (6th lowest)

At 0.6%, Vermont had the eighth lowest economic growth rate in the country. In dollar terms, Vermont had the lowest GDP, at $27.2 billion. Despite its relatively low growth rate, Vermont’s unemployment rate was 4.1% in 2014, lower than the national unemployment rate of 6.2%. Also, Vermont’s 2014 GDP growth rate was an improvement from the previous year when the economy shrunk by 0.3%. The public sector was responsible for most of the growth in the state, with government contributing 0.20 percentage points to the state’s overall growth. The state’s expanding economy may be responsible for the continued shrinking unemployment numbers as preliminary data put the state’s unemployment rate at 3.7% through April 2015. The BLS projected the national April unemployment rate at 5.4%.

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44. Indiana
> GDP growth:
0.4%
> 2014 GDP: $289.3 billion (16th largest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.4%(23rd smallest)
> 2014 unemployment: 6.0% (25th lowest)

Indiana’s economy grew by 0.4% in 2014, lower than the national growth rate of 2.2%. The 2014 GDP growth rate marked a change from the state’s previous year’s more robust growth rate of 2.2%, 0.30 percentage points more than the national growth rate that year. In 2014, growth was driven primarily by the nondurable goods sector, which contributed 0.46 percentage points to the state’s overall growth. The durable goods sector also contributed 0.35 percentage points to growth, the fifth highest contribution from that sector nationwide. Despite this, industries such as mining and construction shrank, contributing to Indiana having one of the lowest economic growth rates in the country.

45. Iowa
> GDP growth:
0.4%
> 2014 GDP: $152.5 billion (21st smallest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.5%(25th smallest)
> 2014 unemployment: 4.4% (10th lowest)

Iowa’s economy grew by 0.4% in 2014, the state’s lowest rate in the last four years. The agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry was the biggest drag on the state’s economy, subtracting just over 1 percentage point from economic expansion. Growth was driven primarily by the construction sector, which contributed 0.25 percentage points to the state’s overall growth. Similarly, the finance and insurance sector contributed 0.22 percentage points to growth, the fourth highest contribution from that sector nationwide. Despite having a relatively low GDP growth rate, Iowa’s unemployment rate was 4.4% in 2014, lower than the national unemployment rate of 6.2%.