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Utah shows some of strongest GDP growth in U.S.

Published June 6, 2013 9:57 pm

Economy • Data show state's rebound from recession strengthening.
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Utah's economy grew faster than all but six other states during 2012, led by durable goods manufacturing and the finance and insurance sector.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said Thursday that the state's gross domestic product ­— the total dollar value of all goods and services produced in Utah last year — increased 3.4 percent. That outpaced the U.S. average, which posted a tepid 2.5 percent gain, and was better than the four other Rocky Mountain states. Collectively, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana's GDP increased 2.1 percent.

Utah's GDP reached $111.8 billion in 2012, up from $108.1 billion in 2011. Durable goods manufacturing — which produces products that don't wear out quickly — accounted for almost one-third of the increase. Finance and insurance furnished nearly a quarter of the gain. Retail trade was No. 3.

The Bureau's figures show Utah's recovery from the recession is gaining speed. Last year's 3.4 percent growth was up from a revised 2.8 percent in 2011 and 2.3 percent in 2010. Utah moved from ninth place nationally in 2011 to No. 7 in 2012.

The recession officially ended in June 2009. The state's GDP shrank 1 percent that year, to $102.8 billion.

There was widespread economic growth in the U.S. last year. Only Connecticut's GDP decreased. It fell 0.1 percent in 2012. In 2011, five states's GDP declined.

State economies that grew faster than Utah were North Dakota (13.4 percent), Texas (4.8 percent), Oregon (3.9 percent), Washington (3.6 percent), Minnesota (3.5 percent) and California (3.5 percent).

There were some drags on the economy last year in Utah, notably real estate and health care. Instead of adding to the GDP growth, they subtracted from it, although those sectors appear to be showing some improvement this year. Agriculture, mining and utilities were drags, too.

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