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Oakland University SBA Data Center

Per-Capita Real GDP

Real per-capita GDP is the most accurate and comprehensive measure of a regional economy. It measures the total market value of final goods and services produced annually, adjusted for price changes and region size measured by population. The data is reported annually by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The 2014 data was released on September 23, 2015.

The Detroit metro area real per-capita GDP was $51,171 in 2014, an increase of 2.17 percent from 2013. The sectors of the economy behind the increase are durable goods manufacturing and business services. The cumulative change in per-capita real GDP for metro Detroit since 2007, before the Great Recession, is 1.09 percent. Economic activity in the local region now exceeds that before the recession when per-capita real GDP was $50,618..

The chart comparing per-capita real GDP for the United States and the Detroit region shows the substantial decline in the local economy compared to the nation, and the resulting sharp rebound with the trough of economic activity in 2009. The Detroit area started its economic decline in 2005, three years before the Great Recession.

The table comparing real per-capita GDP for 10 metro areas has Detroit with the lowest figure in 2014. Detroit's percentage increase of 2.17 percent in 2014 compared with a year ago was third highest only exceeded by Dallas and Pittsburgh at respectively 6.29 and 2.15 percent. The regions with the highest real per-capita GDP are Seattle and Boston. Examining the cumulative percent change since 2007 only Chicago and Atlanta are negative while Detroit is barely positive at 1.09 percent. Dallas and Pittsburgh have experienced the most growth since 2007 at respectively 9.44 and 11.68 percent.

Continued improvement in the local economy is highly dependent on the automobile industry and business services.

The final chart compares per-capita real GDP cumulative percentage change since 2007 for the Detroit, Dallas and Atlanta metro areas. Dallas has the best performance and Atlanta the worst of the 10 metro areas shown in the Tables. Detroit experienced the largest decline of the three areas and has steadily improved since 2009. Dallas had the smallest decline in economic activity and is experiencing accelerated growth in 2013 and 2014. Atlanta is mired in slow growth with an economy substantially below pre-recession levels.

Charles Khoury, Research Assistant
Jonathan Silberman, PHD


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