The United States emerged from one of the worst economic disasters in history less than a decade ago. In the years since the end of the Great Recession, the U.S. economy has remained in a period of unprecedented growth, adding jobs for the last 100 consecutive months and reporting unemployment rates not seen since the 1960s. U.S. GDP has increased in each of the last eight years.
While nationwide economic growth should come as welcome news to every American, growth only impacts day-to-day life if it also happens on a local level. While not all states have reported economic growth in recent years, there is at least one county in every state that has.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed GDP growth figures from 2012 to 2015 by county and county equivalents to identify the fastest growing local economy in every state. Over that period, GDP more than doubled in several counties on this list and more than tripled in one county in Texas. Connecticut is the only state with no counties reporting stronger growth than the comparable 7.3% national three-year increase.
Economic growth is most commonly driven by increased worker productivity or a growing population — or some combination of the two. In many of the counties on this list, population growth likely spurred economic growth as the majority reported growing populations over the same three-year period.
Strong economic growth in a local economy generally leads to improved economic conditions. As local industries report growing output, revenue of local businesses increases, which in turn can spur wage and employment growth. Of the 50 counties on this list, Eddy County, New Mexico, and McKenzie County, North Dakota, are the only local economies on this list to report an uptick in unemployment between 2012 and 2015. In the other 48 economies, unemployment has declined. The majority of counties on this list also reported growth in median household income.
To identify the fastest growing local economy in every state, 24/7 Wall St. calculated the change in real GDP from 2012 to 2015 with data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. We used Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data for the same period to identify the fastest growing industry in each county. Annual unemployment rates also came from the BLS. Population data, including that used to calculate population changes are five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Editor’s Note: Due to a data processing error, county population as a share of state population was incorrect in a previous version of this article. The mistake has been corrected.