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New Metro GDP Data Released

On Wednesday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis yesterday released the 2009 data for metropolitan area Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Their headline, “Economic Decline Widespread in 2009,” should come as a surprise to no one.

The BEA focuses on the year on year change. I’d rather look at the full span of the data that’s available, which is now 2001-2009. Here’s a look at percent change in total real metro area GDP during that time period: 

gdp1.pngAnd here are the top ten metro areas over one million in population on this metric (in millions of dollars):


Per capita tells us a little bit different story. Here’s a map of US metro areas for percent change in real GDP per capita: 

gdp2.pngThe stunning collapse in real per capita GDP and also the erosion in per capita personal income relative to the nation is one of the key reasons I see Atlanta as a region with far more troubles than is generally assumed.

Here are the top ten large metros again:gdptable2.bmpAll I can say is, this data looks great for Portland. That city isn’t perfect to be sure, but on the GDP side of the house, the plan is working beautifully. Contrary to slacker stereotypes, high value work is increasingly being produced there.


Aaron M. Renn is a urban policy analyst and consultant based in Chicago.  His writings appear at his blog, The Urbanophile, and in other publications.

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