Arkansas’ Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased an an annualized rate of 2.9% in the third quarter of 2019, surpassing the national growth rate of 2.1% and ranking #5 among state GDP growth rates. The third quarter growth rate represents a sharp increase in GDP growth over the second quarter’s 1.8% rate.
Smoothing growth rates over a four-quarter moving average, the latest reading puts Arkansas up 1.9% compared to the third quarter of 2018. Over the same period, U.S. GDP expanded by 2.1%.
The news release from the Bureau of Economic Analysis noted that the leading contributors to GDP growth nationally included nondurable goods manufacturing; retail trade; and professional, scientific, and technical services. As shown in the table below, the first two of these sectors were also significant contributors to Arkansas’ growth rate. In addition, Arkansas GDP was boosted by strong growth in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; as well as management of companies and enterprises. The Agriculture, etc., component itself grew at a rate of 56.2% in the third quarter—the fastest growth rate in the nation for that particular sector.
Sectors experiencing negative growth in the third quarter included finance and insurance, which the BEA noted as a factor subtracting from growth in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Other contracting sectors in Arkansas included utilities, and transportation & warehousing.