Economy

States that backed Trump are growing faster than ones that didn't

Key Points
  • States that backed President Donald Trump in 2016 enjoyed faster growth last year than states that went for Hillary Clinton, a Yelp index shows.
  • The ratings site studies business activity in local economies and uses that data to track the economy.
  • Recent government data also shows Trump states ahead in GDP.

States that supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election are doing better economically these days than those that went for his opponent.

Five of the seven fastest-growing states in the U.S. during 2019 went red in the last presidential contest, according to a trend tracked by Yelp that could come into play as a bevy of Democratic hopefuls look to unseat the Republican incumbent in a race that will heat up soon.

An index that the online review site uses to track growth showed that the gap that Republican-leaning presidential states enjoy over Democratic states widened to 2.8 points from 1.3 points in 2018.

Of the seven best-growing states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Louisiana, Alaska, Hawaii and Maine — only the latter two voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Moreover, the seven slowest-growing states and districts by Yelp's measure — Oregon, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware — all voted Democrat.

Yelp's gauge does not measure gross domestic product.

Rather, it uses information gathered through its platform to gauge the strength of local economies through business survival and consumer interest. The site considers its measure to provide "a timely and accurate measure of a huge swath of the economy that is often missed by many major indicators."

The gauge found that for all of 2019, growth dipped 1.3% from the previous year, due in large part to a drop in activity for restaurant, food and nightlife businesses as well as brick-and-mortar retail.

"The slowdown in overall economic growth in 2019 reflected business profits declining, which contributed to a fall in business investments. Uncertainty around trade policy also hindered local economic growth in 2019," Carl Bialik, Yelp's data science editor, said in a statement.

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The findings come a week before the government releases its first estimate of economic growth in the fourth quarter. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect GDP to rise 2.1%.

The latest quarterly state-by-state GDP results from the Commerce Department reflect Yelp's findings that states that voted for Trump have enjoyed higher growth rates.

In the third quarter, the fastest growers were Texas, Utah, Washington, Arkansas and Louisiana. Of that group, only Washington went with Clinton.