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Economic Growth in Your Area

The news usually reports the national number on economic growth (GDP growth), but growth can…

  • December 26, 2019

The news usually reports the national number on economic growth (GDP growth), but growth can vary a lot by region, or even by county or community. Here are some examples of that variation:

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased in 2,375 counties, decreased in 717, and was unchanged in 21 in 2018, according to estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

The percentage change in real GDP ranged from 86.5 percent in Jackson County, WV, to -44.0 percent in Grant County, ND.

GDP is the value of goods and services produced within a county. The size of a county’s economy as measured by GDP varies considerably across the United States.

In 2018, the total level of real GDP ranged from $18.4 million in Issaquena County, MS, to $710.9 billion in Los Angeles County, CA.

Highlights

Large Counties: 141 counties with populations greater than 500,000 in 2018

  • Real GDP increased in 136 and decreased in 5.
  • GDP ranged from $11.2 billion in Pasco County, FL, to $710.9 billion dollars in Los Angeles County, CA.
  • Santa Clara County, CA, (10.2 percent) was the fastest growing large county. The information industry was the leading contributor to the county’s growth.
  • Kern County, CA, (-0.7 percent) had the largest percentage decrease in GDP. The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry (primarily oil and gas extraction) was the leading contributor to the decrease.

Medium Counties: 464 counties with populations between 100,000 and 500,000 in 2018

  • Real GDP increased in 433, decreased in 30, and was unchanged in 1.
  • GDP ranged from $2.0 billion in Saline County, AR, to $52.6 billion dollars in Morris County, NJ.
  • Canadian County, OK, (21.0 percent) was the fastest growing medium county. The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry (primarily oil and gas extraction and support activities) was the leading contributor to the county’s growth.
  • San Juan County, NM, (-6.1 percent) had the largest percentage decrease in GDP. The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry (primarily non-oil and gas mineral extraction) was the leading contributor to the decrease.

Small Counties: 2,508 counties with populations less than 100,000 in 2018

  • Real GDP increased in 1,806, decreased in 682, and was unchanged in 20.
  • GDP ranged from $18.4 million in Issaquena County, MS, to $13.3 billion dollars in Karnes County, TX.
  • Jackson County, WV, (86.5 percent) was the fastest growing small county. The construction industry was the leading contributor to the county’s growth.
  • Grant County, ND, (-44.0 percent) had the largest percentage decrease in GDP. The agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry was the leading contributor to the decrease.

As you can see, the economy varies a lot depending where you live. This is why so many Americans wonder why everyone thinks the economy is so strong when they’re not feeling it, while others wonder why so many Americans complain when, gee, the economy is so strong. We’re not all living in the same economy.