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Iowa GDP growth outpaces nation

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Iowa’s economy is doing better than average, according to a report from the state’s fiscal agency that shows Iowa leading neighboring states and the nation in economic growth over the past 20 years.

The state equivalent of gross domestic product grew more than 50 percent between 1997 and 2017, the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency reported Monday. The growth — $56.6 billion — puts Iowa 21st among the 50 states for comparable growth.

The agency reported Iowa’s GDP was $165 billion in 2017 when adjusted for inflation. Senior fiscal analyst Ron Robinson explained that to eliminate growth due to inflation, the agency selected a midyear — 2009 — and all dollar amounts for each year are adjusted to reflect 2009 buying power. Comparisons were made using the converted 1997 Iowa GDP to provide a standard comparison across years and regions.

The report also found that Iowa’s growth exceeded the nation’s gains as well as growth in six nearby states — Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

“So while beating Plains states and nation, we’re still in middle of the pack,” Robinson said.

For example, oil production in North Dakota pushed that state well ahead of its neighbors.

GDP grew 50 percent nationally and 45 percent in the Plains states during the period, the agency reported.

Iowa’s growth was due, in part, to high commodity prices in 2011-12, Robinson said. Over the 20-year period, agriculture GDP grew 80 percent.

However, agriculture accounts for less than 5 percent of Iowa’s GDP. Finance, insurance and real estate account for almost 25 percent of Iowa’s GDP, manufacturing is 18 percent, “other” amounts to 16 percent and government is 11 percent among the nine categories measured.


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