The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released a new dataset that broke down Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by each county in the nation. GDP is defined as the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a region. Another way to assess this value is to take inflation into account. This is called Real GDP, and is a more accurate portrayal of a region’s GDP because it removes the possibility that increases in GDP could be due to increases in price (inflation) alone. While the information from the BEA’s report is dated, with 2015 being the most recent year represented, the numbers are worth looking into.
The data is broken down by county size: small, medium, and large. Oconee County, with less than 100,000 residents, is considered a small county. Of the 2,514 small counties in the country, 40% saw a decrease in their GDP from 2014 to 2015. This was not the case in Oconee County. In fact, of the four year period studied (2012-2015), Oconee County saw growth each year, with 2014-2015 being the strongest period of growth at 5.8%. In these two years, the county saw economic growth in existing industry expansions and new company investments to the tune of $99m of capital investment and 735 new jobs. Growing companies and new jobs usually mean growing product lines, so there is no doubt that this growth had an effect on GDP.
The BEA has announced plans to release an additional dataset in December of 2019 to show more up-to-date information regarding GDP by county. It will be particularly interesting to see how Oconee fares in that report, as the county saw record-level investments by new and existing industries in 2017 and strong investments in each of the other years. Ours is an economy that is not standing still, and certainly is not declining.
To view the official BEA release, click here.
Emily Hodge is the Research and Data Specialist for the Oconee Economic Alliance which is a public-private nonprofit effort to accelerate job creation and capital investment, increase per capita income, diversify the local tax base and generate awareness of Oconee County as a business location. To learn more visit www.InvestOconeeSC.com.