Mankato posted the fastest economic growth of any Minnesota metropolitan area in 2011.

New data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that the Mankato-area's GDP grew by 6.6 percent in 2011, nearly twice the national average.

The rest of Minnesota's cities all posted slightly above-average growth, with Rochester the lone exception. GDP for the Rochester area actually fell in 2011 by almost 1 percent. Here's a quick screen grab of the data I'm working with:

Since the recession hit, Rochester's economy has grown the fastest in the state, at nearly 11 percent, with Mankato a close second. So it will be interesting to explore what happened with Rochester in 2011.

GDP in the Twin Cities, which account for nearly three-quarters of Minnesota's economic activity, has grown by 7.4 percent since 2008, adding $14.3 billion in output over the three year period between the beginning of the recession and the end of 2011.

Among the top 15 metro areas in the country by GDP, only Washington D.C. and Boston have weathered the recession better than the Twin Cities. And the Twin Cities have performed better since the recession started than any other major metro in the region -- beating out Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Chicago, Kansas City, Detroit and St. Louis.

Here's another screengrab (note the last column on the right, which is the GDP growth rate from the end of 2008 to the end of 2011):