- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Economic growth slowed in most U.S. states and regions in 2008, following the recession that began in late 2007, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said Tuesday.

The agency said 38 states experienced slowdowns in the gross domestic product and attributed the declines to downturns in construction, manufacturing, finance and the insurance industry. The GDP by state increased by 0.7 percent last year, compared to 2.0 percent in 2007.

Among the 38 states experiencing slowdowns, 12 endured declines in their GDP in 2008.

Alaska had the largest decline, minus 2.0 percent. The agency attributed the decline largely to a drop in petroleum extraction. The next was Delaware, with a contraction in the finance and insurance industries, followed by Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

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The U.S. recession officially began in December 2007.

The agency calculates GDP as the sum of consumers, businesses and government spending on goods and services, plus net foreign trade.

Economic growth also slowed in all eight U.S. regions, with the Southwest experiencing the biggest slowdown. The region’s growth slowed from 3.6 percent in 2007 to 1.7 percent in 2008. The agency attributed the slowdown to a decline in the manufacturing of non-durable goods, which includes such products as food, fuel and paper.

The slowdowns in the Southeast and Great Lakes regions were attributed to declines in construction, manufacturing, and finance and insurance.

States that prospered from the housing-market boom this decade suffered the most when the bubble burst. Arizona, Florida and Nevada experienced faster-than-average growth in 2004, 2005 and 2006 but slowed in 2007, then declined in 2008.

However, central states generally grew faster than the rest of the country due to increases in agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting and mining.

North Dakota had the fastest economic growth in 2008, plus 7.3 percent, which was twice as fast as all other states except Wyoming.

Wyoming had the largest acceleration in real growth, from 0.7 percent in 2007 to 4.4 percent in 2008. The largest contributor to growth in 2008 was mining, the agency said.

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