Georgia likes to describe itself as an economic growth engine. Real gross domestic product growth data released this week by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis confirmed progress but there is a long road ahead before anyone can declare recession recovery has happened.
The state turned 4.9 percent negative results two years ago into 1.4 percent positive growth last year. That upside trend was among the best nationally but overall, Georgia still performed well below the national average and below nine of its geographic neighbors in the 12-state Southeast region. The Bureau compared 2009 and 2010 real gross domestic product growth.
The Bureau, which is an office within the U.S. Department of Commerce, said 2010 real GDP growth calendar year rankings placed Georgia 41st nationally, one spot below Florida and four spots above Mississippi which trailed the entire Southeast region at 45th nationally.
Nationally, the Bureau said gross domestic product grew 2.6 percent in 2010, up from a 2.5 percent decline in 2009, with strongest contributions from improvements in durable goods manufacturing, retail trade, the finance and insurance sector, and wholesale trade. Construction real GDP declined for the sixth straight year nationally and it also declined in the Southeast.
The 5.1% national swing from negative to positive over a single calendar year suggests there is some economic resilience. Real gross domestic product growth went up in all eight regions and no region reported negative data.
Real GDP grew 2.3 percent in the twelve-state Southeast, well above the 1.4 percent Georgia number. Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia economies all reported better growth than Georgia. West Virginia grew 4 percent followed by Tennessee (3.5), North Carolina (3.4) and Kentucky (3.2).
Georgia’s performance ranked in the bottom fifth of all states and just nine states nationally reported lower GDP year-to-year growth than Georgia. Those states are New Hampshire, Delaware, Mississippi, Arizona, Oklahoma, Montana, Wyoming, Hawaii and Nevada.
The Bureau also released four-year GDP tracking data for the 2007 to 2010 calendar years. Georgia’s 2.9 percent share of the national economy four years ago declined to 2.8 percent in 2008 and it remained unchanged the past two years. The Southeast remained unchanged over four years with 22.3 percent of national real GDP in 2007 and again last year.
Florida like Georgia posted 1.4 percent real GDP growth last year and Florida’s 5.1 percent improvement in a single calendar year matched the national upswing. Florida was boosted by retail trade. Mississippi’s growth was the lowest in the Southeast region at 1.1 percent.
Georgia performed slightly better in per capita real gross domestic product with a $37,366 number that placed the state 32nd nationally and second in the Southeast behind Louisiana ($43,052) and North Carolina ($39,917).
Here is a link to the Bureau of Economic Analysis report at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
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