States With the Fastest (and Slowest) Growing Economies

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11. Florida
> GDP growth:
2.7%
> 2014 GDP: $769.6 billion (4th largest)
> 1-yr. population change: 1.5%(5th largest)
> 2014 unemployment: 6.3% (20th highest)

Florida’s economy grew by 2.7%, tied for the 11th fastest growth in the country. Growth was driven primarily by the real estate, rental, and leasing sector, which contributed 0.67 percentage points to the state’s overall growth rate, the second largest contribution from that sector in any state. The retail trade sector accounted for another 0.35 percentage points of growth, the fourth highest contribution from that sector nationwide. While Florida’s unemployment rate of 6.3% was just in line with the national unemployment rate, the state’s relatively strong economy has still likely helped attract new residents. The state’s population grew 5.5% from 2010 through last year, the fifth largest population growth nationwide.

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12. Idaho
> GDP growth:
2.7%
> 2014 GDP: $57.6 billion (10th smallest)
> 1-yr. population change: 1.3%(8th largest)
> 2014 unemployment: 4.8% (14th lowest)

Idaho’s economy grew 2.7%, tied for the 11th highest growth rate in the country. Growth was driven primarily by durable goods manufacturing, which contributed 0.56 percentage points to the state’s overall growth rate. The health care and social assistance sector also had an impact, contributing 0.34 percentage points to growth, the second highest contribution to growth from that sector nationwide. Idaho’s economy appears to be relatively strong: the state’s unemployment rate was 4.8% in 2014, lower than the national unemployment rate of 6.2%. Idaho’s strong economy has likely helped attract workers looking for job opportunities. The state’s population grew 1.3% in the last year. Despite the strong economy, the housing market has been weak. Housing starts shrank by 3.8% in 2013.

13. New York
> GDP growth:
2.5%
> 2014 GDP: $1.3 trillion (3rd highest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.3%(15th smallest)
> 2014 unemployment: 6.3% (20th highest)

New York’s finance and insurance sector is among the most robust in the country, accounting for more than 8% of the state’s jobs, the fourth largest share in the country. The industry also accounted for a very large proportion of the state’s economic expansion, contributing 0.87 percentage points to the state’s overall growth rate, more than double the contribution of any other sector in the Empire State. The information sector was next with a contribution of 0.36 percentage points to growth, the third-highest contribution from that sector nationwide. The housing market is another indication that New York’s economy is doing well. From 2013 to 2014, housing starts grew 3.2%, one of the highest increases across the country. Home prices, on the other hand, rose just 2.2%, one of the lowest price appreciations nationwide.

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14. Georgia
> GDP growth:
2.3%
> 2014 GDP: $435.5 billion (10th largest)
> 1-yr. population change: 1.0%(13th largest)
> 2014 unemployment: 7.2% (6th highest)

Last year, Georgia’s economy grew 2.3%, tied with two other states as the 14th fastest in the country. As was the case across most of the nation, Georgia’s growth was driven primarily by the professional and technical services sector, which contributed 0.40 percentage points to the state’s overall growth rate. This was the fourth largest contribution from the sector compared to other states. The information sector contributed another 0.35 percentage points to growth, the fifth highest contribution from that sector nationwide. While a growing economy generally has positive impacts on state residents, GDP growth does not fully capture the health of an economy. Although Georgia’s economy grew slightly faster than the nation’s, the state’s unemployment rate of 7.2% was higher than the national unemployment rate of 6.2%. In 2013 the state’s poverty rate of 19.0% was also higher than the national poverty rate of 15.8%

15. Massachusetts
> GDP growth:
2.3%
> 2014 GDP: $425.0 billion (12th largest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.5%(25th largest)
> 2014 unemployment: 5.8% (24th lowest)

Massachusetts’s economy grew by 2.3%, roughly in line with the national growth rate. Also, like the nation as a whole, the professional and technical services sector contributed more to the state’s economic expansion than any other industry. The sector contributed 0.52 percentage points to the state’s overall growth rate. The health care and social assistance sector contributed 0.26 percentage points to growth, the 10th highest contribution from that sector nationwide. Massachusetts’s unemployment rate of 5.8% in 2014 was lower than the national unemployment rate of 6.2%. In addition to stable economic growth, the state has a relatively wealthy, well-educated population. Median household income was $66,768, higher than the national figure of $52,250. The state’s poverty rate was 11.9%, below the national poverty rate of 15.8%. Of the state’s adults, 89.9% had at least a high school diploma, the 18th highest share in the country. Additionally, 40.3% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree, the highest share in the country.