State's GDP climbs 2% in 2011; durable goods manufacturing cited

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian business editor

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Washington's real gross domestic product grew by 2 percent in 2011, giving the state the 11th fastest growth rate in the nation by that measure, according to a new report released by the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The bureau said 43 states showed growth in real GDP in 2011, led by North Dakota's 7.6 percent growth rate and Oregon's 4.7 percent. Real GDP is defined as an inflation-adjusted measure of each state's production, wherever sold.

Washington enjoyed its strongest growth in durable goods manufacturing. Other areas of strength included information services; accommodation and food services; retail and wholesale trade; professional, scientific, and technical services; and health care and social services.

The state saw declines in real estate; agriculture, forestry, hunting and fishing; construction; and government.

The state's current dollar GDP represented 2.4 percent of the total U.S. gross domestic product. Oregon's GDP accounted for 1.3 percent of the national total.

North Dakota and Oregon showed the strongest growth for very different reasons. Much of North Dakota's growth was in mining while Oregon saw a large expansion in durable goods manufacturing. Analysts speculated that Intel, with large operations in Hillsboro, Ore., was a likely contributor to much of that manufacturing growth. Wyoming ranked 50th among states, with a 1.2 percent decline in real GDP.

At the national level, the real GDP grew in all eight regions measured by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, but the Far West region that includes Washington was the only region where growth accelerated over the past year. As a national average, the gross domestic product as measured by state grew 1.5 percent for the year.