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Economy in Brief

State GDP in 2020:Q3
by Charles Steindel  December 24, 2020

As expected, all states (including DC) had double-digit rates of increase in real GDP in the third quarter. Nevada saw a 52.2 percent rate of real growth; DC, up at a 19.2 percent rate (Wyoming was the softest state, with a 19.4 percent growth rate). Nevada’s surge was related, of course, to reopening of its entertainment and leisure sector, and the limited growth in Wyoming can be traced to weakness in energy extraction (North Dakota also saw relatively low growth, and other large energy producers, such as West Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska were held back noticeably in this area). Factory reopenings clearly aided the obvious major industrial states, such as Michigan (New Hampshire, of all places, saw a very marked gain in durable goods manufacturing). The revival of activity in sectors such as trade, health care, and travel and leisure aided all states, but in idiosyncratic fashions. Utah—which has been an upside outlier on many measures--was the only state to set new record highs in real and current dollar GDP in the third quarter. Interestingly, Utah had an unusually small contribution to its real growth from travel and entertainment in the third quarter.

With national data starting to look choppy in recent months, there is a good chance numbers of states will see negative growth in the fourth quarter. Most likely, all—or virtually all—states experienced double-digit rates of growth in the third quarter. An interesting question will be if any fully reversed the declines in the first half of the year.

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