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Upon further review: State had negative GDP for 2011

Mississippi dipped back into recession in 2011, with overall economic output shrinking 0.8 percent, according to federal figures released last Tuesday.

The Magnolia State was one of only six states where the economy contracted in 2011, along with Alabama, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Wyoming, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported.

Senior economist Marianne Hill with the Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning said her office had estimated a positive GDP of 0.08 percent and said it would not surprise her to see the state’s GDP slide slightly into positive territory if the Bureau of Economic Analysis does a recalculation. “This might be subject to revision,” she said. “This is the first estimate for 2011.”

The federal analysis did not provide a breakdown by quarter. Had it done so the state could better determine whether it had the two consecutive negative quarters of GDP necessary to meet the definition of recession. “I’d like to know what happened by the quarter,” Hill said.

The state’s gross domestic product, all the goods and services produced by the private and public sectors, fell to $84.3 billion. That remained below the peak of $87.1 billion in 2007. The figures are measured in 2005 dollars to cancel out inflation.

Mississippi’s last negative annual GDP occurred in 2009, when the state showed a -4.6 percent GDP. Sandwiched between that were positive GDPs of 1.4 percent in 2008 and 2.2 percent in 2010.

Hill said flooding and weather disasters contributed to the state’s 2011 GDP decline. “Most of the counties in the state were declared a disaster during the course of the year,” she said.

The expectation in January was that rebuilding from the flooding and weather misfortunes would boost the state’s economy. That did not happen, at least to the degree expected, Hill said.

“We didn’t get the inflow” of federal assistance and insurance payments in the first quarter that had been projected, she added. “As I recall it was less than $100 million. People had to absorb a lot of the loss themselves.”

For 2011, Mississippi recorded the lowest per capita economic output at $28,293 per person, compared to a national average of $42,070.

Mississippi performed worse than all but Wyoming. That state’s economy contracted 1.2 percent. North Dakota grew fastest at 7.6 percent, thanks to an oil boom.



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