Great Lakes States Remain a Growing Economic Market

Growing economic markets are prime targets for companies considering economic expansion. Growing markets illustrate a healthy economy that attracts large pools of skilled workers.   The Great Lakes states are a growing economic market.

The five Great Lakes States including Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have a total economic output as measured by the combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $ 55,686,386.1 which has grown steadily as illustrated by the chart below.  Adding in the two Canadian provinces (Ontario and Quebec), Minnesota and New York that touch the Great Lakes illustrate this region is home to 107 million people, 51 million jobs, and a GDP of US$6 trillion – making the Great Lakes Economy a powerhouse on an international level.[i]

Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank

Comparing regional gross domestic product growth is another critical economic development measure that companies consider.  A region’s gross domestic product is the sum of its total economic output for the public and private sectors. Regions with growing economies are generally more attractive to companies considering a corporate site location decision. As the chart above illustrates, the Great Lakes states (Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) GDP has grown substantially over the last several years and has been growing by 72% since 2005, illustrating the economic strength of the region. However, the national GDP has grown over 93% during that same timeframe illustrating that the Great Lakes states have some work to do.

At a state level, the Great Lakes states illustrate consistent growth for all the states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as illustrated by the chart below.  The Great Lakes states with the strongest macroeconomic growth are tied to large manufacturing-based economies. 

Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve FRED

As the table above illustrates, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Illinois enjoyed growth in its GDP from 2012 to 2022 but the state’s overall does not compare well to other Great Lakes states such as Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. 

Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve, FRED

As the chart above illustrates, the major metro regions in the Great Lakes are growing economically in lockstep but not at the rate of southern hyper-growth markets like Charlotte.