Latest Florida GDP growth ranks 21st among states, still outpacing U.S.

These Jackson Square Townhomes began hitting the west Hillsborough County market late last year and continued to be sold into the first quarter of 2017. The real estate sector was the biggest driver of Florida's gross domestic product, which rose 1.4 percent in the first quartrer of 2017.  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
These Jackson Square Townhomes began hitting the west Hillsborough County market late last year and continued to be sold into the first quarter of 2017. The real estate sector was the biggest driver of Florida's gross domestic product, which rose 1.4 percent in the first quartrer of 2017. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
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Florida's gross domestic product or GDP rose 1.4 percent in the first quarter, slightly faster than the nation's growth of 1.2 percent and placing Florida 21st among the states for annualized growth rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Not too hot. Not too cold.

Real GDP by state in the first quarter ranged from a gain of 3.9 percent in Texas to a decline of 4.0 percent in Nebraska. Seven states, mostly in the upper Midwest, saw GDP declines in the quarter while Maine's GDP remained flat. Ohio's GDP ranked 20th in annualized growth as measured in the first quarter, just ahead of Florida, while Mississippi ranked just behind at 22nd.

Florida's 1.4 percent bump in GDP was well ahead of the state's 0.8 percent decline in GDP reported in the first quarter of 2016. Last year proved a roller coaster for the state economy with quarterly GDP growth rates of 3.3, 6.7 and 3.1 percent rates reported for the second, third and fourth quarters of last year. For all of 2016, Florida's GDP grew 3.0 percent — twice as fast as the 1.5 percent growth of the nation as a whole.

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In seasonally adjusted dollars, Florida's first quarter GDP, as measured on an annualized basis, topped $955.6 billion, up from $947 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $906.4 billion in the comparable first quarter last year. Florida's total economic output remains fourth behind California, Texas and New York.

What were the big economic drivers in the Sunshine State's first quarter performance? The real estate sector dominated as a contributor to state GDP, followed by construction, wholesale trade and health care. The weakest sectors included retail trade, finance and insurance, and agriculture.

This story was updated to clarify the growth figures and Florida's GDP output are annualized figures.

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