Nebraska had ninth-worst economic growth in 2011
On Tuesday, the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released statistics showing that in 2011, the United States economy enjoyed modest 1.5% growth nationwide.
According to the BEA, 43 states and the District of Columbia increased their inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (real GDP) in 2011.
However, Nebraska’s economy was nearly stagnant. Nebraska’s real GDP increased only 0.1%, ranking in the bottom 10 states.
The BEA also breaks down the country into geographic regions. The Plains region, consisting of NE, KS, MO, IA, MN, ND, and SD, grew at an overall rate of 1%, spurred by North Dakota’s nation-leading 7.6% GDP growth. The only state in the Plains region growing slower than Nebraska was Missouri.
Nebraska’s slowdown is in stark contrast to the state’s performance during the recent recession. While most states’ GDPs shrank between 2007 and 2009, Nebraska’s economy maintained momentum, outperforming the majority of states.
According to the BEA’s analysis, Nebraska had the 12th best performing economy in 2008 during the heart of the recession, and ranked 10th in 2009. But by 2011 Nebraska’s economy ground to a near-halt, dropping 32 spots to number 42.
As Nebraska’s GDP growth slows, so does the growth of state revenues. This spells bad news for Nebraskans. The state already faces a $620 million budget shortfall, and lawmakers can no longer rely on strong economic growth to pull the state out of its deficit. Instead, they will likely have to resort to a combination of tax increases and cuts to vital public services like our schools, roads, and health care. One thing is certain: the stagnant economy is unlikely to help make these difficult budget decisions any easier.
Click here to read the full BEA report with data for all 50 states.