Wisconsin’s Q2 economic growth ranks 31st in U.S.

Last updated on October 4th, 2021 at 01:58 pm

Wisconsin’s real GDP grew at a 5.7% annualized rate in the second quarter, but it remained slightly below its pre-pandemic level from 2019, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The second quarter growth rate was Wisconsin’s best since the third quarter in 2020, when the state’s GDP grew nearly 39% as the economy bounced back from pandemic-induced shutdowns.

The state’s second quarter growth rate ranked 31st in the country. Nevada had the top growth rate at 9.7%. Among neighboring states, Michigan came in at 8.3%, Iowa’s economy grew 7.7%, Illinois was up 6.8%, Minnesota grew 6.5% and Indiana increased 6.1%.

Measured in 2012 dollars (to adjust for inflation), Wisconsin’s annual GDP in the fourth quarter of 2019 was $305.8 billion. It was slightly lower at $303.2 billion in the second quarter of this year.

The drop between the two quarters amounts to a negative 0.6% compound annual growth rate, which ranks 38th in the country over that period.

Washington saw the best compound annual growth rate over that period (Q4 of 2019 to Q2 of 2021) with a 3.2% increase. Like the second quarter, Wisconsin trailed all its neighboring states over that period with Iowa at 2.5%, Indiana at 2% and Minnesota up 0.4%. Illinois and Michigan both saw a 0.1% drop over the period.

Predictably, the areas of the Wisconsin economy hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic are among the areas yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. The compound annual growth rate for arts, entertainment and recreation is off nearly 19.5% from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the second quarter of this year, accommodation and food service is down 4.5%, health care and social assistance is down nearly 2.6% and educational services have declined more than 7%.

On the other hand, Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector has grown at a 2.1% compound annual rate since the end of 2019. Even that bright spot is tarnished by a 28th place ranking compared to other states.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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