Western Blue Chip Current Update

May 6, 2019

The states included in the Western Blue Chip Economic Forecast are Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.



The Texas economy continues to grow at a healthy pace, though somewhat slower than in the recent past.  The growth in the energy sector continues to provide a significant boost, although overall growth is quite diverse.  Workforce shortages and potential trade disruptions are major short-term risks, while longer term concerns include education infrastructure.

Ray Perryman, The Perryman Group


Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston continue to lead the nation in population growth, each adding more than 1 million residents since 2010.  They are now the fourth and fifth most populous metropolitan regions in the country.  In addition, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas boasts four of the top ten counties in numeric growth since 2010.

Bud Weinstein, Maguire Energy Institute, Southern Methodist University.



The Western region accounted for nine of the top ten states with fastest growth in the rate of real (inflation adjusted) Gross Domestic Product in 2018, according to figures released recently by the U. S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Posting growth of 5.7 percent, Washington led all states, followed by Utah, Idaho, and Arizona, all growing by 4.0 percent or more (see table).  Florida, ranked in fifth position and growing by 3.5 percent, was the only non-Western state among the top ten fastest growing.

Gross Domestic Product Growth in the Western States (Annual Percent Change in Real GDP)

2016 2017 2018 Rank 2018
United States 1.6% 2.2% 2.9%
Washington 3.8% 4.1% 5.7% 1
Utah 3.9% 2.7% 4.3% 2
Idaho 3.7% 2.4% 4.1% 3
Arizona 3.3% 3.0% 4.0% 4
California 3.0% 3.6% 3.5% 6
Colorado 2.4% 3.1% 3.5% 7
Oregon 4.6% 3.2% 3.4% 8
Nevada 2.4% 2.5% 3.2% 9
Texas 2.4% 3.1% 3.5% 10
New Mexico 0.1% 0.0% 1.8% 33
Montana -1.1% 0.4% 0.9% 46
Wyoming -3.8% 0.5% 0.3% 49

Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, May 1, 2019

At the national level, GDP increased by 2.9 percent, the thirteenth consecutive year of growth below 3 percent.  Overall, 39 states grew more slowly than 3.0 percent in 2018. Among the Western states, only New Mexico, Montana and Wyoming grew below 3 percent.

The rate of GDP growth for the U.S. improved over the past three years, increasing from 1.6 percent in 2016.  Five Western states (Washington, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Montana) exhibited a similar pattern of increase from 2016 through 2018.