Hampton Roads’ Gross Regional Product (GRP) continued to decline in 2011, shrinking for the fourth straight year since its peak prior to the recession in 2007. GRP shrank by 0.77% in 2011 to $70.1 billion (2005$s). Hampton Roads’ economic performance from 2010 to 2011 was ranked 206th of the 366 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The region’s five-year annualized growth was -0.05% which ranks 194th out of the 366 MSAs. The strong expansion of GRP to start the new century somewhat mitigates Hampton Roads’ economy shrinking since 2007. GRP grew at annualized rate of 1.50% over the past ten years, and the regional economy grew by almost $10 billion between 2001 and 2011, despite the recent decline.
The regional economy currently ranks the 40th largest in the country, compared to 36th in population and 37th in employment. Hampton Roads ranks 93rd in per capita** GRP at $41,714 per resident. Per capita GRP is $3,730 higher than it was in 2001, but has shrunk since 2007, declining from a peak of $43,145 in 2007.
Compositionally, direct government spending forms a large part of the regional economy. All levels of government spending constitute 28.5% of the regional economy (28th), while direct military spending is 13.4% of the economy (16th). Defense spending on shipbuilding and defense contractors also play a large role in the economy, and current HRPDC estimates indicate that military spending and its indirect impacts drive approximately 46% of economic activity in the region.
*All dollar figures are inflation adjusted 2005 dollars.
** Per capita GRP is a measure of economic performance that controls for population size, enabling one to compare quality of life across regions of different sizes.