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The national growth quilt

GDP growth for each U.S. county

What’s new from the Bureau of Economic Analysis? Real GDP data at the county level, which is now part of FRED’s ever-growing database. The data shown here are for 2015 and are still considered “beta”; but visit FRED in December and the data will be even more definitive.

The map above shows GDP growth for each county across the U.S. It looks like a patchwork quilt. Clearly, high and low and middle-ground growth rates are sprinkled across the nation, with very little uniformity within each state. (Though you could make a case that Nevada and Illinois have much more homogeneous growth across the state.)

The data are even more detailed than just overall county growth: They’re also divided into the government, services, and goods sectors. The second map shows growth of real GDP in the government sector. Here, state borders do seem to matter in many cases, as county- and local-level government finances are in many cases governed at least partially by state-level funding decisions.

The last two maps show the services and goods sectors. The former reveals another patchwork across all states, with more uniformly strong growth in services in the West and Florida. The latter reveals weakness in goods production in the Midwest and the Mississippi Valley and stronger growth in the northern Mountain states, the West, and Florida.

How these maps were created: Search FRED for GDP for your favorite county and select the growth rate. Below the graph, there is a section for related content, including a GeoFRED map. Click on that and expand it to show the entire country. You can adjust the sizing to show Hawaii and Alaska. Once you have the first map, you can find the others by clicking on the cogwheel and selecting another series.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

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