THE Bureau of Economic Analysis released its advanced 2013 state-by-state GDP statistics, as well as revisions for 2010, 2011, and 2012.
The national economy grew at 1.8% for 2013, down from the 2.5% rate of growth in 2012. The Rocky Mountain and Plains regions were the only regions of the 8 to experience an increase in growth from 2012. From the BEA release:
Maine grew at half the national rate for 2013, up from the revised 2012 figure of 0.6%. Meanwhile, the state’s 2010 and 2011 GDP figure were revised downward, from 1.8% to 1.2% in 2010, and from 0.4% to -1.1% in 2011.
The industries making the largest contributions to the state’s growth were real estate/rental/leasing (0.24 percentage points), finance and insurance (0.21 percentage points), healthcare and social assistance (0.18 percentage points), and professional, scientific, and technical services 0.13 percentage points). Meanwhile, government (-0.26 percentage points), non-durable goods manufacturing (-0.07 percentage points), and construction -0.05 percentage points) had the biggest negative impacts to the state’s growth.
The 0.9% growth for Maine ranked 41st nationally. While many will likely focus on this statistic, it’s not the most important takeaway from the BEA release. For instance, in 2005 and 2006, the two years prior to the onset of the Great Recession, Maine ranked 44th and 41st respectively yet economic growth was 1.3% and 1.9% for those years, both well above the 0.9% growth rate for 2013. Looking at the ranking and interpreting that to mean Maine’s economy is struggling would be erroneous because it would assume that Maine should be growing at the same rate as the other states. A proper analysis is not to compare Maine to other states (largely because state economies are not heterogeneous) but to compare the 2013 against historic trends (also keep in mind that the 2013 figure is just one data point and is subject to multiple revisions in the coming months and years). Using that metric, a quick observation would be that the state’s economy is still sluggish:
Of course, too much might be made of GDP figures anyways.