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Putting America’s ridiculously large $18.6T economy into perspective by comparing US state GDPs to entire countries – Publications – AEI

Summary:
AEI Putting America’s ridiculously large .6T economy into perspective by comparing US state GDPs to entire countries The map above (click to enlarge) was created (with assistance from AEI’s graphic design director Olivier Ballou) by matching the economic output (GDP) in each US state (and the District of Columbia) in 2016 to a foreign country with comparable nominal GDP last year, using data from the BEA for GDP by US state and data for GDP by country from the International Monetary Fund. For each US state (and the District of Columbia), we identified the country closest in economic size in 2016 (measured by nominal GDP), and for each state there was a country that was a pretty close match – those countries are displayed in the map above and in the table below. Obviously, in some cases

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Putting America’s ridiculously large $18.6T economy into perspective by comparing US state GDPs to entire countries

Putting America’s ridiculously large $18.6T economy into perspective by comparing US state GDPs to entire countries - Publications – AEI

The map above (click to enlarge) was created (with assistance from AEI’s graphic design director Olivier Ballou) by matching the economic output (GDP) in each US state (and the District of Columbia) in 2016 to a foreign country with comparable nominal GDP last year, using data from the BEA for GDP by US state and data for GDP by country from the International Monetary Fund. For each US state (and the District of Columbia), we identified the country closest in economic size in 2016 (measured by nominal GDP), and for each state there was a country that was a pretty close match – those countries are displayed in the map above and in the table below. Obviously, in some cases the closest match was a country that produced slightly more, or slightly less, economic output in 2016 than a given US state.

It’s pretty difficult to even comprehend how ridiculously large the US economy is, and the map above helps put America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $18.6 trillion ($18,600,000,000,000) in 2016 into perspective by comparing the economic size (GDP) of individual US states to other country’s entire national output. For example:

  1. America’s largest state economy is California, which produced $2.60 trillion of economic output in 2016, just slightly below the GDP of the United Kingdom last year of $2.63 trillion (IMF data here). Consider this: California has a labor force of about 19 compared to the labor force in the UK of 33.7 million (World Bank data here). Amazingly, it required a labor force 77% larger (and nearly 14 million more people) in the UK to produce the same economic output last year as California! That’s a testament to the superior, world-class productivity of the American worker. Further, California as a separate country would have been the 6th largest economy in the world last year, ahead of France ($2.46 trillion) and India ($2.25 trillion) and just slightly behind the UK.
  2. America’s second largest state economy – Texas – produced $1.60 trillion of economic output in 2016, which would have ranked the Lone Star State as the world’s 10th largest economy last year. GDP in Texas was slightly higher than Canada’s GDP last year of $1.52 trillion. However, to produce about the same amount of economic output as Texas required a labor force in Canada (20 million) that was more than 50% larger than the labor force in the state of Texas (13.2 million). That is, it required a labor force of almost 7 million more workers in Canada to produce the same output as Texas last year. Another example of the world-class productivity of the American workforce.
  3. Even with all of its oil wealth, Saudi Arabia’s GDP in 2016 at $639 billion was below the GDP of US states like Pennsylvania ($725 billion) and Illinois ($791 billion).
  4. America’s third largest state economy – New York with a GDP in 2016 of $1.49 trillion – produced more economic output last year than South Korea ($1.4 trillion). As a separate country, New York would have ranked as the world’s 11th largest economy last year, ahead of No. 12 South Korea, No. 13 Russia ($1.28 trillion) and No 14 Australia ($1.26 trillion). Amazingly, it required a labor force in South Korea of 26.6 million that was almost three time larger than New York’s (9.5 million) to produce the same amount of economic output last year! More evidence of the world-class productivity of American workers.
  5. Other comparisons: Florida ($926 billion) produced about the same amount of GDP in 2016 as Indonesia ($932 billion), even though Florida’s labor force of 9.8 million is only about 8% of the size of Indonesia’s workforce of 127 million. GDP in Illinois last year of $792 billion was just slightly higher than economic output in the Netherlands ($771 billion), even though the labor force in Illinois (6.5 million workers) is 28% below the labor force in the Netherlands (9 million workers).

MP: Overall, the US produced 24.7% of world GDP in 2016, with only about 4.5% of the world’s population. Three of America’s states (California, Texas and New York) – as separate countries – would have ranked in the world’s top 11 largest economies last year. Together, those three US states produced $5.7 trillion in economic output last year, and as a separate country would have ranked as the world’s third largest economy and ahead of No. 3 Japan ($4.9 trillion) by almost $1 trillion. And one of those states – California – produced more than $2.5 trillion in economic output in 2016 – and the other two (Texas and New York) produced $1.6 trillion and $1.5 trillion of GDP in 2016 respectively. Adjusted for the size of the workforce, there might not be any country in the world that produces as much output per worker as the US, thanks to the world-class productivity of the American workforce. The map above and the statistics summarized here help remind us of the enormity of the economic powerhouse we live and work in. So let’s not lose sight of how ridiculously large and powerful the US economy is, and how much wealth, output and prosperity is being created every day in the largest economic engine ever in human history.

Putting America’s ridiculously large $18.6T economy into perspective by comparing US state GDPs to entire countries - Publications – AEI

Putting America’s ridiculously large $18.6T economy into perspective by comparing US state GDPs to entire countries
Mark Perry

Mark Perry
Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.

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