Special Report

The Fastest Growing and Shrinking State Economies

The pace of economic growth in the United States slowed to 2.1% in the sec ond quarter, down from 3.1% in the first three months of 2019. The relatively modest second quarter growth was nonetheless historic, marking over 10 years of economic expansion — the longest continual stretch on record.

The U.S. economy is no more than the sum of its parts, and the unprecedented GDP growth nationwide is attributable to local economic success stories across the 50 states. Of course, not all state economies are growing at the same rate — or even at all. 

Using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2018 GDP growth by state to identify the fastest growing and shrinking state economies. States are ranked from weakest GDP growth to strongest. 

The professional and business services industry contributed more to overall economic growth than any other industry last year. While much has been made of the decline of the American manufacturing industry in recent years, manufacturing was the second largest economic driver in 2018. In just over half of all states, the manufacturing sector contributed more to GDP growth than any other industry. These states include Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan — states that are home to some of America’s most iconic manufacturing hubs. These are the cities where manufacturing is making a comeback

It is important to note that GDP growth is not the only indicator of a state’s economic vitality. Other factors like the unemployment rate, poverty rate, incomes, and education level of the labor force are also useful in any assessment of a given state economy’s strengths and weaknesses. Still, rapid GDP growth is often indicative of strong fundamentals, and many of the highest ranking states on this list have healthy economies overall. Based on these broader measures, these are the states with the best and worst economies.

Click here to see the fastest growing and shrinking state economies
Click here to read our methodology