States With the Fastest (and Slowest) Growing Economies

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21. Kansas
> GDP growth:
1.8%
> 2014 GDP: $132.9 billion (20th smallest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.3%(17th smallest)
> 2014 unemployment: 4.5% (12th lowest)

Kansas’s economy grew by 1.8% in 2014, lower than the national growth rate of 2.2%. While this was not the largest of economic expansions, it was a considerable improvement from the previous year, when Kansas’s GDP contracted by 0.3%. Last year’s growth was driven primarily by the management of companies and enterprises sector, which contributed 0.37 percentage points to the state’s overall growth rate. The industry includes establishments that, usually by holding securities of companies, control and manage these companies. The nondurable goods sector contributed another 0.34 percentage points to the growth, the ninth highest contribution from that sector nationwide. Kansas’s unemployment rate of 4.5% in 2014 was lower than the national unemployment rate of 6.2% and a significant improvement from 2013.

22. Montana
> GDP growth:
1.8%
> 2014 GDP: $39.4 billion (3rd lowest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.9%(17th largest)
> 2014 unemployment: 4.7% (13th lowest)

Montana’s economy grew 1.8%, lower than the national growth rate of 2.2%. As was the case in states in the Great Lakes region as well as Louisiana, Montana’s growth was driven primarily by the nondurable goods sector. The industry contributed 1.06 percentage points to the state’s overall growth rate, the second largest contribution from that sector nationwide. The retail trade sector contributed another 0.30 percentage points to growth, the fifth largest contribution from that sector nationwide. Montana’s mining sector was a drag on expansion, subtracting 0.27 percentage points from the GDP growth. However, the state remains a major U.S. energy producer.

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23. Pennsylvania
> GDP growth:
1.8%
> 2014 GDP: $609.1 billion (6th largest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.0%(7th smallest)
> 2014 unemployment: 5.8% (24th lowest)

Pennsylvania’s economy grew 1.8% in 2014. While the growth was slower than the national rate of 2.2%, the state’s economy expanded faster than it did in 2013. The growth was driven primarily by the real estate, rental and leasing sector, which contributed 0.27 percentage points to the state’s overall growth rate. The health care and social assistance sector contributed 0.26 percentage points to growth, also the 10th largest contribution from that sector nationwide. Pennsylvania’s mining sector also expanded, accounting for another 0.25 percentage points of overall growth. The state produced 2,369 trillion BTUs of natural gas in 2012, the third highest level in the country.

24. Tennessee
> GDP growth:
1.7%
> 2014 GDP: $275.8 billion (19th largest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.8%(18th largest)
> 2014 unemployment: 6.7% (12th highest)

Tennessee’s economy grew by 1.7%, lower than the national growth rate of 2.2%. As was the case across the nation, the largest contributor to Tennessee’s GDP growth was the professional and technical services sector, which accounted for 0.33 percentage points of the state’s overall growth. This was also the 11th largest contribution from that sector compared to other states. The durable goods sector contributed 0.27 percentage points to the growth, the 10th highest contribution from that sector nationwide.

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25. Arizona
> GDP growth:
1.4%
> 2014 GDP: $260.8 billion (21st largest)
> 1-yr. population change: 1.5%(6th largest)
> 2014 unemployment: 6.9% (8th highest)

Arizona’s economy grew 1.4%, lower than the national growth rate of 2.2% and roughly in line with its neighbors New Mexico and Nevada, which each had a 1% economic growth. Arizona has one of the largest retail sectors in the country, accounting for nearly 8% of GDP in 2014. The retail sector also was the largest contributor to Arizona’s economic expansion in 2014, accounting for 0.44 percentage points of the state’s GDP growth rate. Arizona’s health care and social assistance sector contributed 0.26 another percentage points to growth, the 10th highest contribution from that sector nationwide. Despite the economic growth, Arizona’s economy continued to struggle. The state’s unemployment rate of 6.9% was the eighth highest rate in the country in 2014.