New GDP figures will add to the local economic-analysis tool boxBy Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist
“We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods. We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average, nor national achievement by the Gross National Product.” Robert Kennedy
As a regional economist, I’m routinely asked for gross domestic product (GDP) figures for Utah’s counties. After all, nationally, GDP is routinely tracked as an economic indicator. “Sorry,” I say, “the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) doesn’t produce GDP statistics for counties (unless they are a metropolitan statistical area). But data-lovers, “the times, they are a-changin’.”
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has just released proto-type county GDP statistics for 2012 to 2015. You can explore the data in the visualization that follows.
Yes, the proto-type information is dated. However, data-users can take a first-look at the series and assist BEA by providing feedback and comments on the prototype data via e-mail at email@example.com. Official statistics are scheduled for release in December 2019.
When the official data is released, this new data will add to our ability to analyze Utah’s local economies.
What do the proto-type figures reveal? Here are a few highlights:
In 2015, eight Utah counties experienced a decline in GDP following a trend similar to 2013 and 2014.
- Less-populated counties were most likely to experience a bout of declining GDP.
- Daggett County, one of Utah’s smallest in both geographic size and population, showed the highest GDP growth rate in 2015 with Washington County showing the highest rate of expansion among more-populated counties.
- It wasn’t uncommon for Utah counties to experience at least one year of GDP contraction between 2013 and 2015.
- Not surprisingly, the vast majority of GDP is generated along the Wasatch Front.