Virginia's economic growth rate slowed sharply during 1979, but still outpaced that of the nation as a whole, according to new figures published by the University of Virginia.

The statistics show the "real" gross state product, or value of all goods and services Virginia produce, rose 2.9 percent that year after adjustment for inflation, compared with a 4.1 percent growth in 1978.

At the same time, however, the growth still was more rapid than that for the nation, whose total "real" output edged up only 2.3 percent in 1979. By contrast, the total U.S. growth rate in 1978 was 4.4 percent.

Virginia's major growth came in manufacturing, mining, trade and service industries. Government increased only slightly, and agricultural output actually declined, after inflation was taken into account.

The figures were compiled by David C. Hodge, a research economist at the university's Tayloe Murphy Institute, the research arm of its business school in Charlottesville.

However, the statistics showed that despite the overall growth, individual Virginians produced only 93 percent as much as Americans as a whole. Real output per capita was only $6,053 in the state, compared to $6,505 for the U.S.

The 1979 figures were part of a series of computations for the years 1958 through 1979. They show that the state's economy grew an average 4.6 percent a year during the period, after adjustment for inflation.

According to the compilation, the "real" volume of goods and services produced in the state jumped to $31.5 billion during 1979, up $881.2 million from the previous year's output.

The dollar value of these same goods and services, before adjustment, soared to $51.4 billion, up 12 percent or almost $5.6 billion from the 1978 level.