The Lone Star state is home to two of the top three large metro areas with the fastest growing real gross domestic product (GDP), according to data recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas metro area experienced the greatest increase (+3.7 percent) in its GDP in 2011, followed by the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas metro area (+3.1 percent). Rounding out the top three was the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, California metro area, where the GDP rose by 2.6 percent.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the GDP increased in 242 of the nation’s 366 metro areas in 2011.

Growth in the professional and business services sector fueled the increase in GDP in the New England and the Western regions of the country, while trade buoyed growth in the Southwest. Durable goods manufacturing contributed to the gain in many parts of the country, particularly in the Great Lakes area. For example, the durable goods manufacturing industry contributed 7.0 percentage points to growth in Kokomo, Indiana and 6.9 percentage points to growth in Columbus, Indiana – two of the fastest growing metro areas in 2011, according to the BEA.

Not surprisingly, parallel trends often run between employment and economic trends.

Many metro areas in Indiana – including Elkhart-Goshen, Columbus, and Muncie – have taken turns reporting the biggest annual percentage growth in employment over the past few years.

Among large metro areas, Houston has dominated the list of employment gainers in recent years. In an August 2012 Employment Update, MuniNetGuide reports, “Houston began its recovery from the recession in 2010, and has steadily increased its labor force ever since. Its employment numbers now exceed pre-recession levels, according to the Greater Houston Partnership.”

The BEA defines real gross domestic product as “the market value of goods and services produced by labor and property.”

In 2011, the top ten metro areas, ranked by GDP, are as follows:

1.       New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA

2.       Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA

3.       Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI

4.       Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

5.       Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX

6.       Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

7.       Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

8.       San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA

9.       Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH

10.    Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA

Note: GDP data for metro areas is released annually. The data is usually released in September, but 2011 statistics were delayed so that the BEA could make a one-time adjustment to local area personal income. The 2012 GDP figures are expected to be released in September 2013.