States With the Fastest (and Slowest) Growing Economies

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26. Minnesota
> GDP growth:
1.4%
> 2014 GDP: $288.1 billion (17th largest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.6%(22nd largest)
> 2014 unemployment: 4.1% (6th lowest)

Minnesota’s economic growth rate of 1.4% was the highest amongst all of its bordering states with the exception of North Dakota. Growth was driven primarily by the health care and social assistance sector, which contributed 0.37 percentage points to the state’s overall growth rate. Another major economic engine in the state was the professional and technical services sector, which contributed 0.31 percentage points, the 15th highest contribution from that sector nationwide. Though the state’s growth rate was lower than the nationwide rate of 2.2%, Minnesota’s unemployment rate was only 4.1% in 2014, more than 2 percentage points lower than the national unemployment rate of 6.2%.

27. North Carolina
> GDP growth:
1.4%
> 2014 GDP: $440.3 billion (9th largest)
> 1-yr. population change: 1.0%(15th largest)
> 2014 unemployment: 6.1% (23rd highest)

North Carolina’s economic growth rate of 1.4% was the sum of what were mostly modest growth rates across a multitude of industries. Growth was driven primarily by the management of companies and enterprises sector, which contributed 0.29 percentage points to the state’s overall growth rate, the 10th highest contribution from that sector nationwide. However, some industries in the state detracted from the state’s economic growth. Government, for example, dragged down North Carolina’s economy by 0.17 percentage points and the national economy by 0.02 percentage points. Though North Carolina’s economic growth rate was 0.80 percentage points lower than the nationwide rate, its unemployment rate of 6.1% was slightly lower than the national rate of 6.2%.

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28. Delaware
> GDP growth:
1.2%
> 2014 GDP: $56.7 billion (9th smallest)
> 1-yr. population change: 1.1%(11th largest)
> 2014 unemployment: 5.7% (21st lowest)

Delaware’s economy grew by 1.2%, 1 percentage point lower than the national growth rate. The limited growth in the state was driven primarily by the finance and insurance sector, which contributed 0.48 percentage points to the state’s overall growth rate. The health care and social assistance sector contributed 0.27 percentage points to growth, the eighth highest contribution from that sector nationwide. Delaware’s unemployment rate was 5.7% in 2014, lower than the national unemployment rate of 6.2%.

29. Illinois
> GDP growth:
1.2%
> 2014 GDP: $680.4 billion (5th largest)
> 1-yr. population change: -0.1%(2nd smallest)
> 2014 unemployment: 7.1% (7th highest)

Illinois’s economy grew at a rate of 1.2% in 2014. Though this was not one of the higher growth rates in the nation, Illinois’ GDP in dollar terms was among the highest. At more than $680.4 billion, only four other states had a higher GDP than Illinois. Also, the state’s 2014 economic growth rate was an improvement from the previous year, when Illinois’ economy only grew by 0.2%. Growth was driven primarily by the nondurable goods sector, which contributed 0.43 percentage points to the state’s overall growth rate. Despite a high GDP and a full percentage point improvement in economic growth since 2013, Illinois still had a 7.1% unemployment rate, one of the highest in the nation.

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30. Rhode Island
> GDP growth:
1.2%
> 2014 GDP: $50.5 billion (7th smallest)
> 1-yr. population change: 0.2%(12th smallest)
> 2014 unemployment: 7.7% (3rd highest)

Rhode Island’s economy grew 1.2% in 2014, a full percentage point lower than the national economic growth rate of 2.2%. Growth was driven primarily by the management of companies and enterprises sector, which contributed 0.48 percentage points to the state’s overall growth rate. This represented the largest contribution by that industry to a single state’s economic growth in the nation. However, not all industries fared as well. Wholesale trade contributed nothing to the state’s GDP growth, while the construction industry was a drag on the economy, reducing GDP by 0.20 percentage points. Not only did Rhode Island have among the lowest economic growth rates in the nation, but also it had one of the highest unemployment rates. With 7.7% of the workforce looking for work, Rhode Island had the third highest unemployment rate in the country.