Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Lower energy costs, increased manufacturing led most states to see economic growth in 2014

Falling oil prices are leading to lower energy costs, which has led to a surge in manufacturing in many states, and 41 states experienced economic growth in 2014 over the previous year, according to the gross domestic product (GDP) recently released by the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Tim Henderson reports for Stateline.

Washington, D.C., has the highest per capita GDP at $175,253, Henderson writes. Alaska led all states, at $77,477, while Mississippi was last, at $35,019. The average per capita was $54,307. (Stateline map: For an interactive version, click here)

"When not measured on a per capita basis, only Alaska and Mississippi showed declines in real economic output last year, the BEA reported," Henderson writes. "Some states with fast-growing populations, such as Nevada and Virginia, achieved real GDP growth last year but showed a decline when measured per capita. Their economic growth wasn’t sufficient to cover their increase in population."

Manufacturing of nondurable goods—such as plastics and chemicals—increased 4 percent nationally in 2014, compared to 1 percent the year before, Henderson writes. The biggest increase was in the Great Lakes region, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, where nondurable goods manufacturing grew by 5 percent.

There has also been a move toward more chemical manufacturing, spurred by lower natural gas prices, "with 105 new plants approved in the last three years, according a January report from Yale Environment 360, a publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies," Henderson writes. "Natural gas is a building block for many fertilizers, chemicals and some plastic products." (Read more)

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