The United States economy has been in a period of encouraging, consistent growth for several years now. U.S. GDP has now increased uninterrupted for 14 straight quarters. The stock market continues to hit new all-time highs, and the unemployment rate fell to 4.1% in October, the lowest it has been since the year 2000.
Based on the most recent quarterly estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the growth — or decline — of American state economies over the past three years — more or less the time since the last nationwide quarterly economic contraction. Nationwide, GDP grew by 2.2% over the three years ending in the second quarter of 2017.
Of course, economic prosperity across the third largest nation on Earth — by both area and by population — does not occur evenly across all geographies. Regional economic growth is affected by regional and local factors, including wages, demographics, and, above all, the concentration of certain industries. Most state economies grew as well over the past three years, but some by less than the nationwide growth and others by as much as 4%. A few state economies even contracted over the three-year period.
American companies in the information sector have gone through a period of prosperity. Companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook appear to be on the verge, some experts, of taking over the entire private sector. The U.S. information sector grew by 6.5% over the past three years, faster than any other. Some of the fastest growing state economies are home to major tech clusters. These states include Utah, California, and Washington.
In some states, the trajectory of oil prices over the past few years has been the driving force behind the greatest economic growth and contraction rates over that period. States with substantial petroleum, mining, or refining sectors such as North Dakota and Alaska weathered the Great Recession better than most and expanded rapidly in the years that followed.
However, when crude oil prices collapsed in 2014 and 2015, it was these same economies that took the hardest hit. Some of the nation’s most oil-rich states have had the largest GDP contractions over the past two years.
Oil prices have been on an upswing since June of this year, rising over $10 per barrel during that time. Many of the economies that have declined the most over the three-year period. North Dakota’s economy grew the fastest in the most recent quarter.
Using data provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 24/7 Wall St. ranked all 50 U.S. states based on percent changes in real GDP growth in all 50 states from the second quarter of 2014 through the second quarter of 2017. and the U.S. Figures provided are adjusted to account for yearly inflation. GDP figures published by the BEA are preliminary and subject to annual revision. Figures on poverty rate, median household income, and educational attainment came from the American Community Survey. Employment and unemployment metrics were provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).