Texas #4 Fastest Growing Economy

The U.S. economy grew for the second straight year in 2011, although at a slower pace than in 2010.  According to figures released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the nation’s gross domestic product increased 1.6% last year, down from 3.1% in 2010.

Durable-goods manufacturing was the nation’s most significant growth industry, contributing nearly one-third of last year’s GDP growth.  Significant contributions were also made by professional, scientific and technical services, which accounted for 24.7% of GDP growth, and the information sector, which represented 14.7% of economic growth.

The data show that a handful of states were responsible for the lion’s share of national GDP growth. States such as North Dakota, Utah and Texas have maintained economic strength that persisted through the recession, while Michigan, California and others have stemmed their declines during the down years.

Not surprisingly, the states with the most vibrant economic growth also notched the biggest employment gains.

In addition to the federal GDP data, 24/7 Wall St. culled employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and population figures from the Census Bureau to create a snapshot of the 11 states with the fastest-growing economies in 2011.  Each of these 11 states had GDP growth of at least 2% in 2011, ahead of the national rate of 1.6%.

The ranking is as follows: 11. Washington, 10. California, 9. Connecticut, 8. Utah, 7. Massachusetts, 6. Michigan, 5. Alaska, 4. Texas, 3. West Virginia, 2. Oregon, 1. North Dakota.

No. 4: Texas
GDP growth: 3.3%
Real GDP: $1.15 trillion (2nd highest)
Population change: +1.7% (the highest)
Increase in employment: 2.1% (3rd highest)
Texas surpassed New York last year as the nation’s second-most-populous state. The state’s economic expansion was just as noteworthy, aided by healthy growth in a number of major industries.
Manufacturing accounted for about 22% of the state’s GDP growth last year, and natural resources contributed 19% of the growth. Unemployment in Texas fell to 7.9% from 8.2% in 2010, with much of the job growth coming from the trade, transportation and utilities sectors.
By: Michael B. Sauter and Lisa A. Nelson, 24/7 Wall St.