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Fastest Growing Economies in the U.S.: Top 10 States

A natural gas derrick rises from the countryside near family homes in North Dakota.

A natural gas derrick rises from the countryside near family homes in North Dakota.

The American (GDP) increased by 2.5% in 2012, a full point improvement over the 1.6% rate in 2011, and the greatest rate of economic grown since 2006. Across the nation, manufacturing, finance and the insurance industry made some of the largest contributions to the economic turnaround.

While the national economy grew, state economies from large population centers like California and Texas made even bigger gains. Population growth and advances in energy production boosted the Texan GDP rate of 4.8%. Meanwhile, the oil bonanza contributed to the enviable economic growth or more than 13% in North Dakota. Based on GDP figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the 10 fastest growing state economies in 2012 are listed here:

10. West Virginia
•  GDP growth: 3.3% (tied for 8th highest)
•  Real 2012 GDP: $56.4 billion (11th smallest)
•  1-yr. population change: 0.03% (3rd lowest)
•  1-yr. employment growth: 0.77% (17th lowest)

 9. Tennessee
•  GDP growth: 3.3% (tied for 8th highest)
•  Real 2012 GDP: $240.5 billion (18th largest)
•  1-yr. population change: 0.88% (19th highest)
•  1-yr. employment growth: 1.26% (20th highest)

8. Indiana
•  GDP growth: 3.3% (tied for 8th highest)
•  Real 2012 GDP: $255.4 billion (16th largest)
•  1-yr. population change: 0.32% (15th lowest)
•  1-yr. employment growth: 0.38% (10th lowest)

7. Utah
•  GDP growth: 3.4%
•  Real 2012 GDP: $111.8 billion (18th smallest)
•  1-yr. population change: 1.45% (4th highest)
•  1-yr. employment growth: 1.76% (11th highest)

6. California
•  GDP growth: 3.5% (tied for 5th highest)
•  Real 2012 GDP: $1.75 trillion (the largest)
•  1-yr. population change: 0.95% (18th highest)
•  1-yr. employment growth: 1.99% (7th highest)

 5. Minnesota
•  GDP growth: 3.5% (tied for 5th highest)
•  Real 2012 GDP: $253.0 billion (17th largest)
•  1-yr. population change: 0.60% (25th lowest)
•  1-yr. employment growth: 0.88% (23rd lowest)

4. Washington
•  GDP growth: 3.6%
•  Real 2012 GDP: $324.2 billion (14th largest)
•  1-yr. population change: 1.08% (11th highest)
•  1-yr. employment growth: 1.12% (22nd highest)

Washington has made considerable efforts to become a major exporter, according to Bernstein. This has allowed the state to become less dependent on U.S. consumers and companies for business, and to “be nimble enough to take products to where the growth is.” In addition to exports, Washington’s information sector contributed nearly one-third of its GDP growth in 2012, the most of any state. The sector accounted for 9% of GDP in 2012, also the most of any state. However, information sector employment has been flat in recent years, with no employment growth recorded in 2012.

3. Oregon
•  GDP growth: 3.9%
•  Real 2012 GDP: $187.4 billion (25th largest)
•  1-yr. population change: 0.80% (21st highest)
•  1-yr. employment growth: 0.35% (8th lowest)

2. Texas
•  GDP growth: 4.8%
•  Real 2012 GDP: $1.21 trillion (2nd largest)
•  1-yr. population change: 1.67% (2nd highest)
•  1-yr. employment growth: 2.17% (6th highest)

 1. North Dakota
•  GDP growth: 13.4%
•  Real 2012 GDP: $38.7 billion (5th smallest)
•  1-yr. population change: 2.17% (the highest)
•  1-yr. employment growth: 3.02% (the highest)
Among the various states, the biggest economic growth occurred in the exploding energy industry. For example, in North Dakota, the mining industry, coupled with natural gas extraction and oil drilling, contributed 3.3% to state GDP growth. Indeed, the most rapid growth from any state in the U.S. came in that sector. Other states also experience significant growth as a result of their energy industries. Natural gas drilling in West Virginia produced the second highest rate of state economic growth in the energy and mining sector, which totaled 2.5%.

Durable goods manufacturing, including car manufacturing and production of computer parts, also fared well in many states. In Indiana, manufacturing accounted was more than half of GDP growth. Three percentage points of Oregon’s growth came from manufacturing of computer parts and similar products.

Car manufacturing has recently undergone a major rebound in many states. Tennessee has seen nearly one-third of its GDP increase come from increases in durable goods manufacturing, including the state’s burgeoning auto industry. Considering the fact that auto makers were bailed out by the feds, “Auto manufacturing is actually a success story, especially if you think about where they were a few years ago.”

Several states with high economic growth have also experienced a bounce-back in other sectors. For example, California recently had one of the most stagnant economies in the U.S., but is now experiencing growth in telecom and technology sectors, as well as in financial markets and banks.

GDP growth generally proceeds in tandem with population growth. North Dakota, Texas and Utah, all of which were leading states for 2012 GDP growth, also ranked among the top five states for population growth. In a number of instances, population growth synched up directly to immigration, as was the case in Texas.

Despite the promising job figures, incidents of wrongful termination, denied L&I claims, and unlawful practices during the independent medical examination remain widespread. If you need legal help recovering your workers compensation benefits, contact an Employment attorney at Emery Reddy today.

 

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