10 States That Enjoy the Highest Economic Growth

A new report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis confirms that the United States is seeing continued widespread economic growth. Of the country’s 50 states, 49, along with the District of Columbia, showed an increase in real gross domestic product in 2012, and durable-goods manufacturing, finance and insurance, and wholesale trade were among the main contributors cited. While the country’s GDP by state saw a 1.6 growth from 2011, this figure increased in 2012 when it posted a 2.5-percent growthThe BEA divides the nation into eight regions — New England, Mideast, Great Lakes, Plains, Southeast, Southwest, Rocky Mountain, and Far West. Although the Southwest grew the fastest, as you will see from our list, the states with the largest increase in growth come from a variety of regions. Here’s a look at the 10 states that have seen the maximum fruits of economic growth lately:

10. West Virginia


Country roads take us home to West Virginia, the state which posts the 10th highest percent change in GDP at 3.3 percent in 2012. That increase ties it with Tennessee for the highest growth out of all other states in the Southeast region, and the others fail to come close.

West Virginia has demonstrated continued expansion ever since its rebound from 2009 — posting a similar 3.3-percent growth figure in 2010. It managed to stay above water in 2009 — with 0.6 percent growth — at a time when most states fell into the negatives, and also posted an impressive 1.9-percent increase in 2011.

9. Tennessee


Next, we have the aforementioned state also grouped in the Southwest region. Tennessee, too, posts a 3.3-percent GDP growth in 2012, a significant increase from previously when it grew 2.5 and 2.3 percent in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

It had earlier fallen 3.9 percent in 2009 in the midst of the financial crisis. Tennessee’s GDP is especially affected by durable-goods manufacturing, demonstrated by the sector’s 1.08 percent contribution to its overall GDP change.

8. Indiana


The crossroads of America takes the next spot on the list, posting a 3.3-percent GDP growth and representing the Great Lakes region. And it’s a good thing Indiana does so, because its neighbors aren’t anywhere close to making the list. Michigan and Ohio come in at 2.2 percent – more than a full percentage point lower than that of Indiana.

The state saw its highest GDP growth in 2010 when it grew a whopping 6.4 percent, a considerably different figure than the 6.0 percent it fell in 2009. Like Tennessee, durable-goods manufacturing accounts for the majority of Indiana’s GDP growth.

7. Utah


Utah is up next — the Rocky Mountain region’s sole representative — with an impressive 3.4-percent GDP growth. Its growth far surpasses any of its neighbors’ in the region, and the state posts a steady GDP increase ever since 2009 when it fell 1 percent.

Since then, it saw a 2.3-percent rise in GDP in 2010, and then a 2.8-percent increase in 2011. Like the aforementioned states, durable-goods manufacturing accounts for much of Utah’s growth, but management of companies also takes up a significant percentage.


6. California


The golden state makes our list at #6, reigning from the Far West region. Its GDP growth in 2012 was 3.5 percent — a growth significantly higher than its totals in earlier years of 0.3 percent in 2010 and 1.2 percent in 2011.

The state’s GDP also fell a considerable 5.1 percent in 2009. Two other states in the Far West region will also make our list, and like these areas, California depends a great deal on information technology for the make-up of its real GDP. Durable-good manufacturing also takes up a sizable percentage.

5. Minnesota

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mulad/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mulad/

The star of the North marks the halfway point on our list, coming in at #5 and posting a 3.5-percent GDP growth in 2012. The state represents the Plains region, which contains 7 states. However, Minnesota is one of only two states from this area to make our list.

Minnesota’s GDP has been on the rebound since 2009 when it posted a loss of 3.5 percent. Its GDP percent change in 2012 is also more than double what it was in 2011 1.6 percent. The state relies most on finance and insurance to make up its GDP, followed by durable-goods manufacturing, and then wholesale trade.

4. Washington


Next up, we head further West to Washington, the state with a 3.6-percent GDP growth. The state’s growth appeared steady and uniform in 2010 and 2011, posting similar growth rates of 2.3 and 2.0 percent, but it saw a considerable increase in 2012 with growth a full percentage point higher than in previous years.

Washington is also a representative of the Far West region — one that is the host of two other states on our list. It relies on durable-goods manufacturing to make up the majority of its GDP, but retail trade also earns an honorable mention.

3. Oregon


This state, also in the Far West region, makes the top-3 of our list, likely satisfying many of its state university’s Ducks. It posts an impressive 3.9-percent GDP growth in 2012 — a figure that is surprisingly less than or equal to the growth the state has seen in past years.

Coming off a 3.2-percent GDP decrease in 2009, the state made a significant rebound with its 2010 growth of 5.7 percent. Its success continued, albeit on a lesser scale, in 2011 with a 3.5-percent increase. Durable-goods manufacturing accounts for a whopping 2.87 percent of the state’s GDP, followed by wholesale trade at 0.33 percent.

2. Texas


Apparently everything is bigger in this next state, and its tremendous real GDP growth of 4.8 percent is just following suit. Texas is the only state reigning from the Southwest region that makes our list, and its GDP growth is almost double that of Arizona, the only state whose GDP increase comes even close to that of the second largest state in the U.S.

This considerable increase is nothing new for Texas, as it also posted a 4.1-percent GDP increase in 2010, followed by a 3.6-percent growth in 2011. While it still fell 0.5 percent in 2009, it fared significantly better than other states at the time. Mining accounts for the majority of Texas’s GDP, followed by durable-goods manufacturing.

1. North Dakota


And lastly, North Dakota of the Plains region takes the title, blowing its competitors out of the water with a 13.4-percent GDP growth in 2012. That is more than four times that of West Virginia, which took #10 on our list. And its brother directly to its south, appropriately named South Dakota, only posted a 0.2-percent increase. The two obviously need to go over game plans. North Dakota has seen considerable increases in its GDP ever since 2009.

While other states, for example Michigan, were plummeting  and posting declines of as much of 9 percent, North Dakota’s GDP was increasing at 3 percent. This growth then more than doubled to 7.2 percent in 2010, increased again to 7.8 percent in 2011, and then rounded out to 13.4 percent in 2012. The state has mining, construction, wholesale trade, and transportation and warehousing to thank for much of its success. Hats off to North Dakota, as the rest of us take notes.

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