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How big is government in your county?

Yesterday, I wrote about the new GDP by county data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. As well as telling us about the overall level of GDP in each county for the years 2012 to 2015, it also breaks that down for each into the share of GDP derived from Private goods-producing industries, Private services-providing industries, and Government and government enterprises. Which of Minnesota’s counties lead and lag in these categories?

In Private goods-producing industries, Roseau County leads the way with 73% of its GDP coming from this sector. The top five – with an average of 62% – are rounded out by Traverse, Waseca, Marshall, and Lac qui Parle counties. By contrast, the bottom five counties – with an average of 13% – are Cook (with just 9% of its GDP coming from this sector), Hennepin, Beltrami, Cass, and Ramsey counties.

Two of the counties performing worst on this measure (highlighted) make up for it with strong scores on Private services-providing industries. So, the top five counties here – with an average of 75% of GDP deriving from this sector – are Hennepin, Olmsted, Pennington, Ramsey, and Crow Wing. Bringing up the rear, the bottom five counties – with an average 27% share – are Roseau, Mahnomen, Traverse, Waseca, and Laq qui Parle. Of the bottom five in Private services-providing industries, four were in the top five for Private goods-producing industries (highlighted).

What of Government and government enterprises? The bottom five counties – with an average of 7% of GDP deriving from this sector – are Lincoln, Olmsted, Hennepin, Roseau, and Steele. The top five – with an average share of 35% – are Mille Lacs, Cass, Carlton, Pine, and Mahnomen. Figure 1 shows the government’s share of GDP across Minnesota.

Figure 1: Government and government enterprises as a percentage of county GDP

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Across the state, the median share of GDP was 37.4% for Private goods-producing industries, 48.9% for Private services-providing industries, and 12.2% for Government and government enterprises.

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment. 

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