Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise but the nation’s biggest states in terms of population are at the head of the class for having the nation’s biggest economies.
The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis is out with the 2011 Gross Domestic Product by state, a good snapshot of economic activity across the country. The GDP by state is the sum of the value of all goods and services produced in that state as part of the overall U.S. total.
Based on the BEA’s measure (and adjusted for inflation), the nation’s top 15 state economies in 2011 were:
- California: $1.74 trillion
- Texas: $1.15 trillion
- New York: $1.05 trillion
- Florida: $661 billion
- Illinois: $582 billion
- Pennsylvania: $500.4 billion
- New Jersey: $426.7 billion
- Ohio: $418.9 billion
- North Carolina: $385 billion
- Virginia: $375.8 billion
- Georgia: $365.8 billion
- Massachusetts: $348.6 billion
- Michigan: $337.4 billion
- Washington $310.9 billion
- Maryland $264.3 billion
No doubt state economies were in recovery mode in 2011. Only six states – Alabama, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey and Wyoming – had GDP declines in 2011 compared to 2010.
Inside the numbers, the trend for manufacturing activity stayed positive. Durable goods manufacturing contributed to GDP increases in every state except Alaska (where it was virtually flat) and was especially strong in Far West, Great Lakes and Southwest states.
And states, such as New Jersey, with high concentrations of information services and professional, scientific and technical jobs saw both those sectors contribute significantly to their economies. Every state saw GDP growth in technical services and 42 had growth in information services.
The stutter step nature of the U.S. economy and the continued sluggishness in job creation makes it difficult to be overly optimistic about any forecast of sustained momentum.
But the overall totals for 2011 did climb past where they were in 2008 and they are much more favorable than in the great cratering of 2009. It may not be fast progress, but it is a clear indicator of forward progress.