Western U.S. Drove Economic Growth in 2012

The western part of the U.S. was an economic growth engine for the country in 2012, bolstered by increased construction, an expanding finance and insurance industry and rapidly growing mining and oil sector.
The Southwest, Far West and Plains regions were the fastest growing areas of the country last year, according to a state-by-state breakdown of gross domestic product the Commerce Department released Thursday.

North Dakota’s economy expanded at the fastest rate of any state, growing a blistering 13.4% last year compared to the nation’s modest 2.5% improvement. The much larger Texas economy, which advanced 4.8%, accounted for the largest total expansion.

Overall, 49 states and the District of Columbia experienced economic growth last year. Only Connecticut, one of the states stung by superstorm Sandy, had its economy contract, a slight 0.1%. That state’s finance and utility industries both shrank last year.

By region, the Southwest grew the fastest, advancing 4.1%, while the New England grew the slowest, up just 1.2%. The Great Lakes regional economy, up 2.2%, was the only area of the country not to improve upon 2011. The country as a whole grew just 1.6% in 2011.

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