Coming Soon: More Timely Data on the Health of States’ Economies

BEA’s annual gross domestic product by state report provides a crucial look into the health of states’ economies. Soon businesses, consumers, and policymakers will get a sneak peak at a more timely and frequent version of the report.

On August 20, we will release a quarterly look at state economic performance broken out by industry for the years 2005-2013. Like its annual cousin, this prototype quarterly GDP by state report will be conceptually consistent with BEA’s national data on economic output, allowing for comparisons across geographies and time.

In addition to the economic activity of each state, these quarterly statistics will provide more information on how states’ industries are faring.  For instance, according to our most recent annual report on state economic growth, released on June 11, non-durable goods manufacturing contributed 2.65 percentage points to overall growth in Louisiana. Using quarterly data, one can investigate whether this increase in activity was sustained over all four quarters.

We are releasing these statistics for review and comment by data users.  After getting their feedback, the goal is to start producing quarterly GDP by state statistics on a regular basis in 2015. Quarterly GDP by state statistics will provide a first read on state-level activity for a quarter within five to six months after the close of that quarter.

Quarterly GDP by state statistics can also build a clearer picture of the overall U.S. economy. By providing an earlier indication of what states are experiencing in terms of economic activity, these statistics can provide more insight into the geographic pattern of national economic performance.  

For example, using quarterly GDP by state statistics, one can investigate whether key industries in some states were showing declines even before the national downturn that began in late 2007.

These new estimates are just one way that BEA is innovating to better measure the 21st Century economy. On August 7, we released prototype estimates of consumer spending by state. Earlier this year, we introduced real (inflation-adjusted) estimates of personal income for states and metropolitan areas and new quarterly statistics on GDP broken out by industry. Providing businesses and individuals with new data tools like these is a priority of the Commerce Department’s “Open for Business Agenda.”

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