Gross domestic product (GDP) is the monetary market value of all final goods and services made within a geographic location during a specific period. It includes all private and public consumption, investments, the foreign balance of trade (exports are added to GDP, imports are subtracted) and government outlays. GDP is an overall measure of domestic production; therefore it is used as a snapshot of a country or region’s economic health.
GDP growth rate is the increase in GDP from quarter to quarter. The GDP growth rate is important for government entities, which use it to determine which monetary policies to implement, and businesses, which use it to guide their business strategy. A very high GDP growth rate is not always good, as it could be an indicator of environmental impacts or an increase in income disparity or inflation. In these cases, the government entities would use the GDP growth rate to implement monetary policy to slow down the growth.
The United States GDP was $20.50 trillion in 2018 with a growth rate of 2.9%. As with many other things, GDP varies greatly in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with some states having GDPs that rival entire countries. For example, Texas’s economy of $1.8 trillion is larger than the economy of global superpower Russia.
In 2018, 49 states and the District of Columbia saw GDP growth. Only Alaska saw a decrease of -0.3%. Alaska’s GDP was about $52.31 billion and ranked as the 46th largest economy in the United States. Alaska’s economy is based on oil production, fishing, mining, research and development, and tourism.
Washington had the largest growth rate in 2018 of 5.7% almost double the national rate. The boost to the state’s economy is provided mainly from the information services and retail sectors. Washington’s consistent growth has propelled it from the 17th largest economy in the United States in 1977 to the 10th largest economy.