Blog Post

Insight: Utah’s GDP Growth: a story of consistent recovery

By: John Downen

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis maintains statistics on the composition and performance of the nation’s and the states’ economies. The BEA recently released 2017 numbers for gross domestic product (GDP) by state. GDP is the most common measure of an area’s economic output and measures the value of goods and services produced in a region minus the cost of the goods and services used in the production process. Looking at Utah’s growth both recently and since the end of the Great Recession gives us a good idea of the rise of some industries and the decline of others.

From 2016 to 2017 the nation’s GDP grew by 2.1 percent after adjusting for inflation. This was an improvement over 2016’s 1.5 percent real growth rate, but it was slower than what we saw in 2014 and 2015. Among the states, Utah was the fifth fastest-growing in 2017, with an increase of 3.1 percent to $165.5 billion. While this is the slowest rate since 2013, it’s still a healthy level of growth (see figure 1). Since the Great Recession ended in 2009, Utah has been among the 10 fastest-growing states in six out of eight years, and among the top five for the last three years. Utah’s improving economic performance has been the most consistent compared to other states since the recovery began.

Figure 1: Real GDP Annual Growth Rate, 1998–2017

Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Utah’s 2016–17 performance was driven by professional, scientific, a