Fayetteville's economy grew 4.1 percent in 2010, well above the national average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Much of that growth was attributable to the government sector, which in Fayetteville means mostly the military. Other major military communities around the nation also posted healthy economic gains that included significant growth in the government sector.
But for the first time since 2007, many of the nation's non-military metro areas grew, too. After two years of declines, the gross domestic product of the nation's 366 metros grew 2.5 percent to $11.79 trillion, when adjusted for inflation, according to the bureau. That was just short of the $11.8 trillion high in 2007, the year the recession began.
In 2008 and 2009, only 76 of the nation's metros saw economic growth. Always among them: Fayetteville, the only metro in North Carolina with an economy that has grown each year since 2001. And since the recession began four years ago, Fayetteville's economy has grown by $1.7 billion, or 12 percent.
Gross domestic product measures the market value of all goods and services produced in a certain area within a certain period.
"It shows you how the total economy is doing," said Ralph Stewart, a spokesman for the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
The figures also show the general composition of each metro's economy and indicate how those sectors are performing. Nationally, the largest gains in 2010 were in durable-goods manufacturing, trade and financial activities. Construction was the only sector to post a loss. Small gains were posted in nondurable goods and government.
GDP grew in each of North Carolina's 14 metros in 2010, according to the bureau. The largest percentage gains were in the Triangle's two metros. Driven by big gains in durable-goods manufacturing, Durham-Chapel Hill's economy grew 6.6 percent to $35.5 billion. And Raleigh-Cary grew 5.2 percent to $51.6 billion, aided by gains in financial activities and professional and business services.
At nearly $15.3 billion, Fayetteville's economy is the sixth largest in the state. Jacksonville and Fayetteville ranked third and fourth, respectively, for economic growth last year. In both metros, government accounted for at least half of those gains. Jacksonville is home to the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base.
In contrast to the national picture, durable-goods manufacturing fell 8 percent in the Fayetteville metro in 2010, dropping to $875 million in gross domestic product, according to bureau figures.
But overall private industry grew 3.1 percent in the Fayetteville area, to $6.9 billion. And government, including the military, increased 4.8 percent to $8.3 billion. Government comprised a hefty 54 percent of the Fayetteville area's economy in 2010. Only in Jacksonville is the government sector more dominant - nearly 71 percent of that community's economy.
In the state's other metros, government accounts for a much smaller portion of overall GDP - usually no more than 14 percent. Government accounts for 25 percent of GDP in Goldsboro, home to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. In Greenville, home to East Carolina University, government makes up 26.5 percent of the economy.