The United States is in a period of historic, continuous economic growth, with GDP climbing every quarter since mid-2009. While this trend is good news for most Americans, not all parts of the country have experienced the same growth. In fact, in nearly every state, there is at least one county where GDP has contracted in recent years.
Using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed GDP change from 2013 through 2018 at the county and county equivalent level to identify the fastest shrinking local economy in every state.
California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire are the only states where no counties reported a decline in GDP between 2013 and 2018. Still, each of these states has at least one county where economic growth over that period lagged behind the comparable 13.0% national GDP growth. Perhaps not surprisingly, overall economic growth has been faster in these four states than in most other states over the last five years. Here is a look at the fastest growing and shrinking state economies.
In 13 counties on this list, mining, quarrying, and oil extraction — a particularly volatile industry — reported the largest decline in economic output of any other industry. Many of these counties are located in states that rank among the top coal producers, including Pennsylvania and West Virginia — and between 2013 and 2018, total U.S. coal production has fallen by over 23%.
Slow or negative GDP growth are not the only indicators of poor economic conditions in many of the counties on this list. In most of these counties, the annual unemployment rate is higher than the comparable 3.9% national rate. Additionally, In the vast majority of counties on this list, the typical household earns less than the median income across the state as a whole.
Such conditions may be pushing people out of these areas and contributing to population decline — the vast majority of counties on this list are home to fewer people today than they were five years ago. Here is a look at the fastest shrinking county in every state.