While it might not feel like a banner year given modest economic growth nationwide, the Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released gross domestic product (GDP) figures for 2012 showing that every state in the district hit record levels of output, save for Michigan. However, when measured on a per person basis, only Minnesota and North Dakota are at record levels.
Real GDP in North Dakota grew a whopping 13.4 percent over 2011 (see table). All major industry sectors grew in the state. Led by the oil boom, the mining sector (which energy is a part of) more than quadrupled over the past five years. Transportation and warehousing grew by 35 percent, and construction grew by 29 percent.
Minnesota was the next fastest, at 3.5 percent over 2011, good for fifth highest in the country. Durable goods manufacturing increased by 9 percent, and the real estate sector increased by 7 percent. Agriculture also had a good run with a 6 percent increase and was up 32 percent from 2007. Mining dropped by 14 percent last year, ending a strong run that saw the sector nonetheless grow by 43 percent since 2007.
Montana grew at a moderate 2.1 percent rate. Professional, scientific and technical services grew at a robust 8 percent from 2011, and durable goods increased by 16 percent. However, nondurable goods production dropped 3 percent.
South Dakota grew by an anemic 0.2 percent, mostly on the heels of a poor year in agriculture as output dropped by 16 percent from 2011 (though the sector was still up by 37 percent from 2007). On the positive side, durable goods increased by 10 percent, and recent surveys suggest more of the same for manufacturing in 2013.