Special Report

Cities With the Fastest Growing (and Shrinking) Economies

The Fastest Growing Metropolitan Economies

10. Corpus Christi, TX
> 2014 GDP growth:
> 2014 GDP: $21.43 billion
> Largest industry: Manufacturing
> Largest industry’s share of GDP: 14.0%

Corpus Christi’s economy grew by 6.5% in 2014, one of the fastest growth rates in the country. The unemployment rate also improved, dropping a full percentage point from 6.2% the year before. Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing, which the government categorizes as a single industry, expanded by 9.5%, faster than any other industry. Manufacturing, the city’s largest industry by contribution to total GDP, grew by nearly 8%, the second fastest rate of any industry. The city’s largest industry by employment experienced minimal growth. The government groups educational services, health care, and social assistance into one industry, and it accounts for 23.1% of all area jobs. This industry grew only slightly more than a tenth of a percent in 2014.

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9. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
> 2014 GDP growth:
> 2014 GDP: $205.99 billion
> Largest industry: Manufacturing
> Largest industry’s share of GDP: 26.3%

The manufacturing sector accounted for well more than one-quarter of the San Jose area economy. The durable goods manufacturing sector was also the largest contributor to economic growth, adding 2.3 percentage points to the area’s GDP growth of 6.7%. Durable goods include vehicles and other common manufactured products, but in the San Jose area, the industry manufactures computer components and other electronic devices more than any other durable product. The area’s information sector, while not as active as manufacturing, made up 16.8% of the area’s total 2014 economic output, more than three times its contribution to the national economy and larger than the industry’s contribution in every other U.S. metro area. The Silicon Valley tech sector hub is home to dozens of S&P 500 companies.

8. Victoria, TX
> 2014 GDP growth:
> 2014 GDP: $5.34 billion
> Largest industry: Mining
> Largest industry’s share of GDP: 21.6%

The Victoria metro area is one of five fastest growing metropolitan economies located in Texas, the nation’s largest oil producer. As was the case in other fast-growing Texas economies, the natural resources and mining sector was the largest contributor to growth in Victoria. The industry accounted for 4.7 percentage points of economic growth in 2014, over half of the area’s total economic growth rate. No other sector in the area contributed more than 1 percentage point. Mining activity also made up 21.6% of the Victoria’s economy, the largest of any other industry in the area.

7. Bismarck, ND
> 2014 GDP growth:
> 2014 GDP: $6.50 billion
> Largest industry: Government
> Largest industry’s share of GDP: 14.4%

Growing by 7.6%, Bismarck had one of the most rapidly expanding economies in 2014. Accounting for more than 14% of the capital city’s economy, government is the largest industry in Bismarck. While nationwide the government sector tended to be a drag on local economies, the public sector actually contributed more than a quarter of a percentage point to growth in the area. However, the sector was far from the city’s largest contributor to growth. No sector contributed more to economic expansion in the area than professional and business services. Generating $749 million in 2014, professional and business services contributed 1.3 percentage points to Bismarck’s total economic expansion.

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6. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
> 2014 GDP growth:
> 2014 GDP: $460.15 billion
> Largest industry: Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing
> Largest industry’s share of GDP: 18.5%

The Dallas metro area is one of the nation’s fastest growing local economies as well as one of the largest. The region’s economy produced goods and services valued roughly $460.2 billion last year, the fourth largest compared with other U.S. metro areas. Financial services made up the largest share of the area’s economy, accounting for 18.4% of total GDP, but it was the manufacturing industry that grew the fastest, expanding by nearly 30% in 2014. Within the industry, the nondurable goods manufacturing, specifically, was the largest contributor to overall economic growth, contributing 4 percentage points to the metro’s growth.