Jobs & Unemployment
Between the 2009 recession and 2018, national GDP grew more than 22%. States, however, saw varying levels of growth: while the state of North Dakota more than doubled the national rate of growth, three other states saw their economies contract. Industries did not grow evenly either: the information and finance industries exceeded the growth rate of the whole economy while growth in the mining industry and from government activity stayed stagnant.
On the jobs side between 2009 and 2017, the total number of jobs grew by more than 13% with states with increasing populations in the South and West seeing the most gains. The health care and real estate industries saw their employment levels grow at high rates, while the job growth in the information and finance industries were far less pronounced than their GDP growth.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis compiles data that goes deep into various measures of the economy of the nation and the states.
Two metrics that are key to understanding economic growth across industries and states: the GDP and employment.
NOTE: The jobs data ends in 2017 as BEA is expected to add 2018 numbers in September. We’re defining total employment as the total number of full and part-time jobs (including wage, salaried, and self-employed). All comparisons are adjusted to 2018 dollars based on the GDP deflator index. The BEA’s measure of GDP by industry measures “value-added” to the economy.
Between 2009 and 2018, national GDP increased by 22.1% from $16.8 trillion to $20.5 trillion. Employment increased 13% during that period from 173.6 million to 196.1 million. For comparison, the total population between 2009 and 2018 increased by 20.4 million or 6.6%.
In five states, GDP grew by more than 30% during this same period: North Dakota (up 47.2%), Washington (up 37.1%), Utah (up 34.7%), California (up 33.1%) and Texas (up 31.4%).
Job loss was significant before the recession as the ratio of people working shows a drop from 63.1% of working-age people working in 2006 to 59.3% in 2009. That percentage increased to 60.4% in 2018.
All of these states were among the 18 states where employment growth was higher than the national average. Utah led all states between 2009 and 2017 with 21.7% job growth from 1.6 million to nearly 2 million.
Only one state lost jobs: West Virginia. That state saw a 1.1% decline in job growth compared with a 5.1% increase in its GDP.
Three states have a smaller GDP than in 2008: Alaska (down 6.2%), Wyoming (down 5.9%) and Connecticut (down 0.1%).
Government as a whole — federal, state and local — is the second-largest contributor to GDP and the largest employer.
While all government levels spent over $5.9 trillion in 2016 (the latest year the data is available), it is important to note that its value added to the GDP is much less. The BEA defines such GDP as what industry or sector produces subtracted by what comes in to produce it. While the government may pay for energy to power its buildings or concrete to build its roads, it adds value to the GDP through compensation of employees and providing services.
In terms of value-added GDP, the government grew 5.2% from $2.4 trillion in 2009 to $2.5 trillion in 2018. North Dakota led growth in the government sector at 17.6%, followed by Nebraska (14.5%) and Colorado (14%). On the other end, New Jersey’s government GDP shrank 5.9%, followed by West Virginia (down 4.7%) and Louisiana (down 4.3%).
National government employment declined by about 280,000 or 1.1% from 2008 to 2017. Following GDP growth, both Utah and Colorado saw government employment rise from 2008 to 2017 by more than 10% while Louisiana’s government employment fell 12%.
In 2009, the industry contributed $2.2 trillion to the GDP, 13.2% of the nation’s total and trailing only the entire government sector. In 2018, the industry grew to $2.7 trillion, an increase of 23.4%. It became the nation’s largest industry in 2015.
Sales of housing units have increased by 64.5% from 375,000 in 2009 to 617,000 in 2018, according to Census data.
The industry’s GDP grew between 2009 and 2018 in all but three states — Connecticut (down 8.8%), Mississippi (down 6.2%) and Delaware (down 1.7%).
Though its real estate industry remains among the smallest of states, North Dakota saw GDP from this industry grow from $3.6 billion to $6.4 billion (an 81% increase), a higher percentage increase than any other state.
As a job provider, the industry employed 9.1 million people in 2017, up 21.3% from 2009. Every state saw an increase in employment in real estate and leasing, though the Dakotas led states with the most significant percentage gains. South Dakota has 38.5% more people employed in the industry while North Dakota has 59.3% more.
Jobs and GDP related to health care or social assistance grew in every state. Nationally, between 2009 and 2017, the GDP in this industry grew 21.8% from $1.3 trillion to $1.5 trillion. Jobs in health and social assistance increased by 18.5% from 18.7 million in 2009 to 22.2 million in 2017.
As with discussing government spending in relation to government’s value-added GDP, it’s important to note that nationwide Americans spent $3.3 trillion on healthcare in 2017. That’s up 8.8% from the $3 trillion spent in 2009.
Manufacturing was the third-largest industry in 2009 and remained so in 2018. Between those years, its GDP increased 18.1% from $2 trillion to $2.3 trillion.
The story differs when looking across industries and states. Manufacturing of durable goods — products built to last like airplanes, computers, and furniture — increased 27.1% from $1 trillion in 2009 to $1.3 trillion in 2018. Nondurable manufacturing — including clothing, paper products, and fuel— went up just 8.4% from $953.7 in 2009 to just over $1 trillion in 2018.
Michigan’s manufacturing industry grew 62% from $63.1 billion in 2009 to $102.3 billion in 2018, the second-biggest percentage growth both in terms of GDP and jobs. (Montana’s much smaller manufacturing sector grew 67.4%.) The number of workers in the industry grew by 33.4% between 2009 and 2017. Those gains were largely attributed to growth in durable manufacturing, which includes automobiles and other goods built to last for a while, as opposed to nondurable goods.
In addition to Michigan, other Midwestern states such as Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have all seen GDP in the manufacturing sector grow by at least 20%.
At the other end of the spectrum, New Mexico’s manufacturing sector shrunk 32.3% in terms of GDP and 9.1% in terms of jobs. The other states with a drop in GDP coming from manufacturing are Delaware, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and, Maine.
This industry can be further separated to include industries as varied as filmmaking, online publishing, telecommunications, and data processing. Nationally, its GDP has grown 34.3% from $838.5 billion in 2009 to $1.1 trillion in 2018.
That growth occurred in only a handful of states. Five states account for 87% of that growth: California (where the information industry’s GDP has doubled from $152.2 billion to $306.7 billion), New York, Washington, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.
The national job growth in the information industry isn’t as pronounced as GDP growth. Between 2009 and 2017, the number of jobs in the information industry grew by 74,100 or 2.2%. California gained 104,850 such jobs, meaning the rest of the country lost 30,750 jobs in the industry.
This industry sees fluctuations in its contributions year-to-year. In 2009, the extraction of natural resources from the earth made up $320.4 billion. Since then, the GDP value of the industry has ranged from $225.6 billion in 2016 to $439.6 billion in 2014. In 2018, its value stood at $321.1 billion, a 0.4% decrease from 2009.
But between 2009 and 2017, the number of jobs nationwide in this industry grew 19.1% from 1.1 million to 1.5 million. Much of this job growth was led by the oil and gas segment of the industry.
In five states, the mining and natural resources industries grew by more than $4 billion since 2009 — Texas (up $17.5 billion), Pennsylvania (up $9.5 billion), Ohio (up $9.2 billion), Oklahoma (up $5.8 billion) and North Dakota (up $4.4 billion). In four states, the industries more than double in value — Ohio (up 251%), North Dakota (up 229%), Wisconsin (up 221%) and Pennsylvania (up 126%). Mining and extraction jobs in all of these states were up at least 36% between 2009 and 2017, with North Dakota’s nearly tripling from 9,086 to 26,056. Much of the growth in Midwestern states can be attributed to increases in natural gas production through fracking. North Dakota’s growth is driven through a spike in oil production.
In four states, employment in this industry declined: Kentucky (down 29.3%), West Virginia (down 7.4%), Wyoming (down 7.2%) and Virginia (down 0.9%). In Kentucky , this industry shrunk from 3.4% in 2009 ($6.2 billion) to 1% ($2.1 billion).
This sector, along with real estate, was at the heart of the 2009 recession but has since recovered. The finance and insurance sector has grown 34.9% in terms of GDP from 2009 ($1.1 trillion) to 2018 ($1.5 trillion). The industry is well above its pre-recession GDP peak of $.3 trillion in 2006.
There were 10.5 million people working in the industry in 2018, up more than a million or 11% since 2009.
The growth has been concentrated in the most populous states including New York, California, Texas, and Florida.
Two states saw a decline in the industry’s GDP: Connecticut (down 14%) and Missouri (down 2.1%).
We compiled BEA’s industry-level data by state into the interactive graphic below. The graphic includes subsets of primary industries. Not all data may be available in all states and years.
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