Nebraska’s economy returned to growth in 2020’s third quarter

Nebraska’s economy returned to growth in 2020’s third quarter

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has released state Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for the third quarter of 2020, with the welcome news that every state experienced a return to growth.

Nebraska registered an annualized 33.2% GDP growth rate. The country as a whole saw a similar percentage increase, at 33.4%.

GDP is a common measurement of economic growth. The percentage change represents the increase in the monetary value of all the final goods and services that are produced in a state or country. State GDP data take longer to compile than national numbers and are released on a preliminary basis. It’s not uncommon for these numbers to be revised as more data comes in.

The figures we’re viewing now capture what was thought to be happening in Nebraska from July through September, as the state was attempting to regain its footing and reopen following the initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring.

The state and country experienced a sudden and sharp recession in the first two quarters of 2020, as governments and markets responded to the public health crisis, which began at the tail end of the first quarter.

Nebraska experienced a lower than average dip in GDP in the first quarter, with revised numbers showing a decline of 3.4%. But by the second quarter, the recession had caught up to us, registering an annualized 31% decrease, which was about the same as the economic contraction the country experienced as a whole.

Nebraska industry sectors that experienced the most growth in the third quarter were health care and social assistance, along with agriculture. The hard-hit accommodation and food services category also saw a higher increase in growth than most other industries, while mining and utilities saw slight declines in output.

Looking at the industry figures nationally, some states that depend on tourism and hospitality did see stronger rebounds in accommodation and food services, and a resultant increase in their GDP growth (Nevada lead the country in the third quarter, for example). States that are dependent on mining, oil, and gas, meanwhile, may have experienced a less robust recovery in the third quarter, since their key industry yielded negative or flat growth.

Here’s how the third quarter’s GDP growth in Nebraska compares with our neighbors:

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