Yesterday the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its estimate of the state-by-state change in 2011 in real gross domestic product (GDP), which measures economic growth adjusted for inflation. The new numbers aren’t exactly great news for Wisconsin, but they’re more encouraging than the national labor data for our state.
The BEA statistics show that Wisconsin’s real GDP grew by 1.1% last year, compared to a national average of 1.5%. Measured on a per capita basis, our state’s real GDP was 7.7% below the national average. On the more positive side, our state’s GDP growth ranked in the middle, at 26th and our per capita GDP grew at a slightly faster rate that the national average (0.78% for WI in 2011 vs. 0.73% nationally).
In other Midwest states, real GDP grew at either the same rate or a little faster than in WI: 1.1% in Indiana and Ohio, 1.2% in Minnesota, 1.3% in Illinois, 1.9% in Iowa, and 2.3% in Michigan. A chart comparing GDP growth in all the states has been prepared by the Oregon Center for Public Policy.
Wisconsin’s modest growth was driven primarily by improvements in durable goods manufacturing, which rebounded across the nation last year. However, manufacturing exports may be threatened by the economic slowdown in Asia and severe economic slump in Europe. If the global economy hurts U.S. manufacturing, that is likely to be especially problematic for Wisconsin and Indiana, which have a much larger share of employment in the manufacturing sector than any of the other states.