Western Economic Developments December 1997

December 1, 1997

Executive Summary

  • The District contains six of the ten fastest growing states in the nation, with Nevada, Arizona, and Utah topping the list.
  • The pace of economic growth in the District remained solid in recent months, although below the rapid trend of 1996.
  • In much of the District, employment growth continues to outpace growth in the labor force, pushing state unemployment rates down and creating very tight labor markets.
  • Growth is beginning to even out across District states. Slower growth in Oregon and the Intermountain states combined with solid expansions in California and Washington are narrowing the growth gap among the Districts most populous states.
  • Banks headquartered in the District reported healthy third quarter earnings. Average past-due loan ratios for most District-based banks improved relative to a year ago.
  • Recent developments in East Asia may damp the pace of growth in many district states but should not derail the Districts solid expansion.