The latest report on state-level GDP showed that Arkansas GDP increased at a 1.8% annualized rate in the second quarter of 2019, slightly below the national average rate of 2.0%. Growth rates ranged from 0.5% in Hawaii to 4.7% in Texas. Arkansas’ 1.8% was the median growth rate among the 50 states.
Over the past four quarters, Arkansas’ growth rate averaged 1.4%, compared to the national growth rate of 2.3%. Over the past five years, Arkansas’ growth rate has persistently fallen short of the national average: From 2014:Q2 through 2019:Q2, GDP growth averaged 2.5% for the U.S. and 1.1% for Arkansas.
The key sectors driving Arkansas’ growth in the second quarter included Agriculture, Utilities, Management of companies, and Professional services. Government also increased significantly. Wholesale trade and Transportation & warehousing posted declines, both here in Arkansas and nationwide.
Today’s report included revisions to the most recent five years of data. As shown in the figure below, the revisions lowered growth estimates for 2017 and raised growth for 2018. In particular, the previously-published data had shown growth spikes in 2016:Q4 and 2017:Q2 that were significantly lowered by the revisions. Growth estimates for 2017:Q4 and 2018:q2 were revised upward from less than 2% to nearly 4% in each of those quarters. More recently, the originally-reported growth rate of 2.5% in the first quarter of the year was marked down to 1.6%
Cumulatively, the data revisions had the impact of increasing estimated level of activity at the start of the year by $1.25 billion (chained 2012 dollars) — an increase of about 1.1%.