By Michael B. Sauter and Lisa Nelson, 24/7 Wall St.
In 2011, the U.S. economy grew by 1.5% -- slower than 2010's rate of 3.1% GDP growth, but still enough to show the country is moving in the right direction.
Driving that growth were a handful of sectors: durable goods manufacturing, which contributed to nearly a third of total GDP growth; professional, scientific, and technical services, which provided 24.7%; and the information sector, which represented 14.7%.
Likewise, at the state level, just a few contributed the lion's share of national GDP growth: 11 states saw their GDP rise by at least 2%. While some of these states, such as North Dakota, Utah, Texas and Alaska, maintained economic forward momentum throughout the recession, others, such as California and Michigan, are getting formerly shrinking economies back in gear.
24/7 Wall St. dug into the data to find out what's driving our nation's growth at the local level: Here are the 11 states with the largest growth in GDP.
In addition to BEA GDP data, 24/7 Wall St. examined changes in employment and unemployment rates by sector between 2010 and 2011, provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also reviewed population changes over that time period, provided by the Census Bureau.