Saturday, February 14, 2009

rust belt metro econ metrics 2002-2006

one measure often used to gauge the size of a country's economy and make relative comparisons is the gross national product, or GDP.

The GDP is a bundle of all sorts of things mixed together: the value of stuff consumed, plus the amount of money invested, plus wages, plus government spending, etc., etc. (wiki gdp here for more details)

The big GDP news of today was that if you take the most recent estimates and stretch them out over time, the European Union's GDP is shrinking by 6 percent over the year - a much higher clip than the 3.8 percent reduction in GDP estimated for the United States over the same period.

About a year and a half ago, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released its first ever calculations for the GDP of each of the 363 metropolitan areas in the United States.

So a metro area is kinda like a hub of economic activity, and counties are either included or excluded from a grouping depending on the pull of economic activity from one county to the next. For example, while most would say the Mahoning Valley is Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in Ohio along with Mercer and Lawrence in Pennsylvania, the OMB defines the Youngstown-Warren metro to statistically be just 3 of those counties: Mahoning, Trumbull, and Mercer.

The GDP in 2006 of these three counties was 17.2 billion dollars. Again, remember all the components that go into this amount. But comparatively, these three counties added together compare to the GDP of the country of Panama. Taking another place, the GDP of the Youngstown region is about the same as the European country of Iceland.

In the Youngstown metro from 2001 to 2006, the GDP rose 1.9 percent. On a per person basis, the GDP per capita rose 4.9%.

so how are many of the metro areas in the rust belt fairing?

check out the chart below:

2006 GDP (in billions)change in GDP 2002-06change in per capita GDP 2002-06metro area labeled by central city
26.2B+7.2%+7.1%Akron, OH
27.2B+2.6%-2.5%Allentown, PA
40.6B+4.3%+6.6%Buffalo, NY
12.5B+0.1%+0.3%Canton, OH
93.4B+4.9%+1.4%Cincinnati, OH
101.6B+5.8%+7.6%Cleveland, OH
85.5B+5.5%+1.0%Columbus, OH
33.5B+3.9%+4.6%Dayton, OH
199.3B-1.9%-1.9%Detroit, MI
8.8B+6.2%+7.0%Erie, PA
12.1B-2.8%-2.6%Flint, MI
16.0B+4.2%+1.5%Fort Wayne, IN
3.6B+4.8%+7.5%Johnstown, PA
11.0B-2.5%-3.4%Kalamazoo, MI
4.1B+2.0%+4.5%Lima, OH
3.8B+3.1%+4.5%Mansfield, OH
106.5B+4.5%+6.6%Pittsburgh, PA
13.8B+9.4%+4.5%Reading, PA
3.0B+1.2%+2.7%Sandusky, OH
17.8B+7.0%+7.8%Scranton, PA
25.6B+2.2%+3.1%Toledo, OH
3.4B-7.9%-4.2%Weirton, WV
4.6B+7.1%+10.2%Wheeling, OH
17.2B+1.9%+4.9%Youngstown, OH
11.8T+12.8+8.2%All U.S. Metros

first, if we are to use GDP as a general measure of an economy's size,

Youngstown's economy is about two-thirds the size of Akron.

Youngstown's economy is smaller than Pittsburgh's and Cleveland's by about a factor of five.

and it would take about 10 Youngstown economies to equal the size of the Detroit regional economy.

(click here for demonstration. seriously, do it)

So while this data does not incorporate 2007 and 2008 data, it should serve as fodder for some interesting comparisons.

We'll have to wait until 2011 to insert the sluggish 2009 data into the chart. I wonder what the five-year chart will have the Michigan metros experiencing then?

data source: here

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