Jackson County had the 84th Fastest Growth in Gross Domestic Product in 2016

Jackson County had the 84th Fastest Growth in Gross Domestic Product in 2016

by Guy Tauer

October 17, 2017

The Bureau of Economic Analysis just released the gross domestic product (GDP) figures by metropolitan area for 2016. GDP in the U.S. metropolitan areas grew by 1.7 percent from 2015 to 2016. The Medford metropolitan statistical area (Jackson County) had the 84th fastest growth in gross domestic product among the nation’s 381 metropolitan areas between 2015 and 2016 (+2.9%). Josephine County’s economy grew even faster, with the 37th fastest GDP growth (+4.0%). The Bend-Redmond MSA tied with the Lake Charles MSA, Louisiana for fastest growth in GDP. The Bend-Redmond MSA posted an annual growth rate of 8.1 percent.

As a reminder, gross domestic product represents an estimate of the total dollar value of all goods and services produced in the given geography over a specific time. It is the economy's output. The majority of this output is market production, meaning those goods and services produced for sale in the market. However, a portion of GDP is non-market production, such as education services provided by local governments or management of our public lands. Gross domestic product is equal to the value of final goods. For instance, if a business produces cogs (intermediate product) for clocks (final product) then their production is not directly counted in GDP. Instead GDP measures the value of the clock (final product), which theoretically includes the production value of the individual cog.

Nationally, metropolitan areas averaged a 1.7 percent increase in GDP; the professional sector, information, and financial activities drove the majority of the gains. In Jackson County, industries outpacing the U.S. metro average in percent contribution to GDP growth included construction, durable goods manufacturing, trade, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality. Jackson County industries that lagged the U.S. percent contribution to GDP growth were non-durable goods manufacturing, information, financial activities, and professional and business services. Three industries accounted for about 70 percent of annual GDP growth in Jackson County –  trade, education and health services, and construction.

In Josephine County, industries with a larger contribution to GDP growth than the U.S. metro average were construction; trade, transportation, and utilities; financial activities; education and health services; and leisure and hospitality. Industries that lagged the U.S. metro percent contribution to GDP growth were information, and professional and business services.

Jackson County’s total economic output in 2016 was just more than $7 billion, or 6.1 percent higher than the peak before the most recent recession. Medford MSA total economic output is up around 17.4 percent from the depths of the recession in 2010, strong gains in just six years. To put that into perspective, that is roughly an increase in annual economic output of $1 billion compared with 2010, in real dollars.

Josephine County’s total gross domestic product was about $2.1 billion in 2016, an increase of 0.24 percent above the previous pre-recession peak in 2006. Josephine GDP declined by about 10 percent from 2006 to 2010. Between 2010 and 2016, total economic output rose by about 14 percent, essentially recovering all of the GDP contraction caused by the Great Recession.

It is important to remember that gross domestic product is a lagging economic indicator. It tells us something about the past, in this case, the output in our economy nearly a year ago. Many of the most referenced economic indicators are lagging, such as the unemployment rate, nonfarm payroll employment, and the consumer price index. These indicators tell us where we were, but do a relatively poor job of telling us where we are going. That being said, we have continued to see strong job growth through most of 2017 with employment levels sitting roughly 2 to 3 percent above where we were at this time last year. Employment is a major driver of gross output, which bodes well for continued strong gains in gross domestic product in 2017.