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Pittsburgh Perspectives  

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Wednesday, December 09, 2020  02:10 PM  (46)

Regional GDP Growth

In December the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released updated estimates for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for individual metropolitan and counties ares across the United States. GDP is a key economic metric estimating the value of the final goods and services produced in a regional or national economy. At the local level GDP can also called Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP) or Gross Regional Product (GRP). Estimates of GDP are widely used to measure both the size and economic health of nations and subregions.  In the United States, national GDP estimates are reported quarterly by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. State, metropolitan area and county-level estimates of GDP are also produced annually by the BEA.  The latest data just released includes estimates of GDP for county and metropolitan areas through 2019.

As of 2019, the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is estimated to have an annual GDP of $145.5 billion dollars. This makes the Pittsburgh region the 25th largest regional economy in the United States. Between 2018 and 2019, real GDP growth in the Pittsburgh MSA - which accounts for inflation - grew by 2.1%; just below the estimated 2.2% real GDP growth for the nation that year.  Across the 30 largest metropolitan regions, annual GDP growth between 2018 and 2019 ranged from a low of +0.5% for Chicago to +5.1% for the Seattle region. 

Just under 64% of GDP in the Pittsburgh MSA is generated within Allegheny County, which as of 2019 produces an annual $92.4 billion in annual GDP. County-level GDP growth between 2018 and 2019 ranged from a high of +10.5% in Greene County to -0.1% for Beaver County.  Beaver County's relatively slow GDP growth between 2018 and 2019 follows a year of relatively high GDP growth over the previous year. Beaver County's high (+6.0%) GDP growth between 2017 and 2018 was the result of ongoing construction of the new ethane cracker in the county. Likewise, slower GDP growth in the most recent year likely reflects a slowing of construction activity at the site. 

GDP Growth for Southwestern Pennsylvania Counties, 2018-2019

  GDP - 2018 GDP - 2019 Growth 2018-2019
Pittsburgh MSA  and Counties    
Allegheny 91,296,413 92,984,370 1.8%
Armstrong 2,322,321 2,328,167 0.3%
Beaver 7,076,904 7,071,719 -0.1%
Butler 9,807,629 10,129,654 3.3%
Fayette 4,383,058 4,628,835 5.6%
Washington 14,054,804 14,343,479 2.1%
Westmoreland 13,532,650 14,056,279 3.9%
Pittsburgh MSA subtotal: 142,473,779 145,542,503 2.2%
Other Southwestern Pennsylvania Counties  
Greene 4,487,809 4,957,694 10.5%
Indiana 3,960,040 3,990,933 0.8%
Lawrence 2,988,791 3,037,868 1.6%

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