There are many measures of the economy, but one economists are fond of is gross domestic product. What do the recently released the numbers for gross domestic product for 2011 for all states. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden highlights what these statistics show for North Carolina.
“Well first of all … a little background. Gross domestic product is the production of all goods and services in a region; here we’re talking about states. Or another way of thinking about it is it’s the aggregate income earned by individuals as well as companies.
“The good news from these 2011 numbers that … were just released is that North Carolina’s growth rate and GDP, that’s gross domestic product, in 2011 was in the top 20 percent for all states. In fact, our growth rate here in North Carolina in gross domestic product was the highest for all of the states surrounding us except for Tennessee — and Tennessee beat us only by one-tenth of one percentage point.
“So this shows that North Carolina’s economy actually did relatively well compared to other states in 2011.
“Now many might say, ‘Well, how come our unemployment rate didn’t plunge?’ Well, you have to remember that production of products as well as services can come not just from employed people but it can come from also using machinery and technology. So there’s not always a one-to-one correspondence between growth and aggregate production and growth in employment.
“Nevertheless, this is a good number. This is something to be encouraged about, and we certainly hope it will continue into 2012.”