Today, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released its estimates of county-level Real GDP for 2019. That’s right, today - almost mid-December of 2020 - we have official Real GDP values for the calendar year 2019. We now ‘know’ what happened a year ago. And it goes without saying that 2020, the year of the virus, is nothing like 2019.
This long lag before we get official estimates, and the fact that we only get a single observation per year even after waiting almost a year to get that, led PERC and the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation to develop our Business Cycle Index for the College Station-Bryan MSA, a monthly estimate of local economic conditions that is available with a much shorter data lag.
Still, what have we learned with this latest data release? We have data for each county in our MSA, and we can add these together to get our MSA estimate. Brazos County’s Real GDP in 2019 was $9.631 billion, up from $9.555 in 2018, a modest increase of 0.8%. Burleson County’s Real GDP in 2019 was $1.712 billion, up substantially from $1.507 billion in 2018, an increase of 13.6%. Finally, Robertson County’s Real GDP in 2019 was $2.844 billion, down slightly, -0.5%, from $2.859 billion in 2018.
Overall, our MSA had Real GDP of $14.098 billion in 2019, up 1.7% from the $13.857 billion recorded for 2018.
The accompanying table presents Real GDP values for the years 2016 through 2019. Our local MSA had Real GDP increases of 4.1% in 2017, 3.3% in 2018, and 1.7% in 2019. Much of the individual county movements in Real GDP, especially in Burleson and Robertson counties, are influenced by oil and natural gas drilling and production.
Next year, in December 2021, we can look forward to seeing estimates of what happened to us this year, 2020.
United States Bureau of Economic Analysis; December 9, 2020 News Release; Table 1. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by County, 2016–2019; https://www.bea.gov/news/2020/gross-domestic-product-county-2019