The Great Recession technically ended five years ago when the economy stopped contracting. Yet growth has been very sluggish, and history shows this is the weakest recovery for the country on record. Almost every state experienced at least some economic growth last year, but some are clearly lagging behind others.
According to new data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), real gross domestic product increased or held steady in forty-nine states last year, with Alaska being the only state economy to contract. North Dakota was the fastest growing state thanks to the recent oil boom, followed by Wyoming and West Virginia. As the chart above shows, real GDP increased in all eight BEA regions. However, overall growth slowed to 1.8 percent in 2013 from 2.5 percent in 2012.
The largest leading contributors to growth were nondurable-goods manufacturing, real estate, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting. Nondurable-good manufacturing was the leading contributor to growth in three of the eight BEA regions and in ten states.
Despite the improvement in growth since the depths of the financial crisis, several state economies expanded at less than 1 percent last year. Let’s take a look at the eight states with the slowest growth rates.