Look West for Strongest Growth Since the Recession

Source: Barb Rosewicz & Joe Fleming, Pew Charitable Trusts, November 19, 2018

The second-longest U.S. economic expansion has played out unevenly across states. Growth has been strongest in North Dakota and a group of mostly Western states and weakest in Connecticut, as measured by the rate of change in each state’s total personal income since the start of the Great Recession. In the first half of 2018, all but a couple of states shared in widespread gains.

The national recovery has been long-running, but growth in total U.S. personal income is still off its historic pace. As of the second quarter of 2018, the combined personal income of U.S. residents rose by the equivalent of 1.9 percent a year over the 10-plus years since the recession began, compared with the equivalent of 2.3 percent over the past 20 years, after accounting for inflation.

The rates represent the constant pace at which inflation-adjusted state personal income would need to grow each year to reach the most recent level and are one way of tracking a state’s economy.

After tumbling nationwide except in West Virginia during the depths of the recession, personal income totals have recovered in all states but have grown at far different rates.

Eight states’ growth since the start of recession beat the 20-year U.S. rate as of the second quarter of 2018, and nearly all were in the West. North Dakota once again led; the sum of its residents’ personal income has increased the equivalent of 3.3 percent a year. Connecticut and four other states recorded the weakest recovery, with growth rates at or below the equivalent of 1 percent a year. None of those states are in the West.

Related:
States’ Personal Income Recovers Unevenly From Recession (PDF)
49 States’ Estimated Personal Income Grew Over Past Year (PDF)
Number of States in Which Inflation-Adjusted Personal Income Fell (PDF)