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Measuring Minnesota

by Nick Dobbins
September 2013

A country, state, or region's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) represents the market value of goods and services produced within that area, and it has become a primary measure of economic activity in the United States. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) recently released its state-by-state GDP information for 2012, and their findings provide some interesting and encouraging news for Minnesota.

Perhaps the most striking thing about Minnesota's GDP is the speed with which it grew in 2012. According to the BEA Minnesota's economy had the fifth fastest growth rate in the country, tied with California with a 3.5 percent increase over the year. North Dakota, with its booming oil industry, ranked first at 13.4 percent, which is nearly three times the 4.8 percent growth in second-place Texas. GDP increased in 49 states plus the District of Columbia (decreasing only in Connecticut), leading to a national GDP growth rate of 2.5 percent.

Table 1
States by 2012 Per Capita Gross Domestic Product
State Per Capita GDP (2005 Dollars) National Rank
North Dakota 55,250 3
MINNESOTA 47,028 12
Illinois 46,151 16
Nebraska 44,943 18
South Dakota 43,181 20
Iowa 42,222 23
Kansas 41,070 25
Wisconsin 39,308 29
Indiana 39,065 31
Ohio 37,690 34
Missouri 26,815 36
Michigan 35,298 38
Source: United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis -

As Table 1 shows, Minnesota also performs quite well in per capita GDP, a measure of how much value a state produces per resident. Among our regional neighbors we trail only North Dakota, with its small population and growing economy, in this category. The Midwest in general, however, performs fairly poorly by this measure. Of the eight BEA designated regions, Minnesota's Plains area and the neighboring Great Lakes states (IL, IN, MI, OH, and WI) have the fourth and second lowest per capita GDPs respectively in the United States. The least productive region in the country is the Southeast, which includes the states with the four lowest per capita GDPs (Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, and South Carolina).

The total value of Minnesota's GDP in 2012 was $253 billion, the 17th highest in the country.

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