Over Two-Thirds of Metro Areas See GDP Growth in 2016; Growth of Metros Outpaces Nation

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has released their Gross Domestic Product numbers for metropolitan areas in the U.S. in 2016. GDP increased last year in 69.9 percent (267 of 382) of all U.S. metros. Real GDP by metropolitan area growth ranged from 8.1 percent in Lake Charles, LA and Bend-Redmond, OR to -13.3 percent in Odessa, TX. Real GDP growth in 2016 for U.S. metropolitan areas grew 1.7 percent in 2016, led by growth in professional and business services; information services; and finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing. The growth rate of 1.7 percent in U.S. metros slightly outpaced the national growth rate of 1.5 percent, indicating the nation’s urban areas are driving economic growth relative to more rural areas.

by Jeffrey L Garceau

 Gross Domestic Product Growth – U.S. Metropolitan Areas – 2016

The map below allows you to zoom in and out for additional detail, as well as move the map to view the metropolitan areas in Alaska and Hawaii. You can also scroll over or click on a particular metro for detail of its growth. The deeper blue and orange colors represent greater growth and decline, respectively, with grayish colors representing less movement.

Biggest Movers –  Metro GDP % Change – 2016

Below is a chart and list of the ten metropolitan areas with the highest rate of GDP growth in 2016, as well as the lowest. Louisiana, Oregon, and Utah all have two metro areas in the top ten. Texas has three metropolitan areas in the bottom ten, followed by Louisiana with two.

TOP Ten:

  • Bend-Redmond, OR – 8.1%
  • Lake Charles, LA – 8.1%
  • Brunswick, GA – 7.2%
  • Alexandria, LA – 7.0%
  • St. George, UT – 6.7%
  • Elkhart-Goshen, IN – 6.5%
  • Albany, OR – 6.4%
  • Provo-Orem, UT – 6.1%
  • The Villages, FL – 6.0%
  • Visalia-Porterville, CA – 6.0%


  • Odessa, TX – -13.3%
  • Casper, WY – -11.6%
  • Lafayette, LA – -11.5%
  • Houma-Thibodaux, LA – -10.4%
  • Victoria, TX – -10.2%
  • Farmington, NM – -8.6%
  • Longview, TX – -6.9%
  • Williamsport, PA – -6.5%
  • Rocky Mount, NC – -6.2%
  • Anchorage, AK – -4.6%

It is noteworthy that only Louisiana has metro areas in the top and bottom ten. To try to get a better idea of how each of these Louisiana metropolitan areas came to have such different economic growth rates, we can see if there is anything revealed by looking at different industries. The BEA categorizes economic activity into thirteen different sectors. In Lafayette, LA finance, insurance, and real estate contributed to a -2.31 percent change to its economy, and durable goods-manufacturing led to -1.28 percent growth, the largest contributors to its -11.5 percent total. Houma-Thibodaux, LA’s largest contributors to its -10.4 percent decline were transportation and utilities, which contributed -3.83 percent growth. In Lake Charles, LA, with a growth rate of 8.1 percent, construction was by far the largest contributor to its growth, at 3.81 percent. In Alexandria, LA, with a growth rate of 7.0 percent, natural resources and mining actually contributed to 7.19 percent growth, with the rest of the overall economy contributing a net negative growth rate of -0.19 percent.

Influences on Metropolitan Area Economies

The overall sector changes for all U.S. metropolitan areas is broken out by sector below. The information sector was, perhaps unsurprisingly for metropolitan areas, the overall leading growth-sector at 6.5 percent, followed by construction with 4.0 percent growth, and transportation and utilities growing 3.2 percent. Nine of eleven sectors had positive growth in 2016, while non-durable goods manufacturing declined a slight -0.2 percent, and natural resources and mining performed most poorly, with a decline of -5.3 percent.


Taking a deeper look at the data shows much going on underneath the surface of the overall national figures. Our state and local economies influence how we perceive the country is doing, in as much as Gross Domestic Product is a proper measurement of economic performance. Access to the full set of data provided by the BEA can be found here.