Energy boom pushes states to top of income growth list

While no state came anywhere close to North Dakota for average personal income growth last year, Texas was a respectable second-place finisher, according to estimates released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

North Dakota, which is enjoying an energy boom and, consequently, a building boom, led the nation in personal income growth in 2012, according to the bureau. Personal income is the before-tax income received by every resident from all sources, including wages, rents and transfer payments.

Average personal income in North Dakota increased by 12.4 percent in 2012, compared with 2011. That marks the fifth time in the past six years that North Dakota has recorded the nation’s fastest-growing personal income.

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In Texas, average personal income increased by 4.8 percent in 2012, making it the second-fastest in the U.S.

For Texas, the biggest contributor to earnings growth came from the construction industry, said David Lenze, an economist with the bureau in Washington, D.C. Construction income grew 11.6 percent in Texas during 2012, compared with 5.4 percent nationwide.

The U.S. average personal income increased by 3.5 percent in 2012, according to the bureau. That is slower than the average growth in 2011, when personal income nationwide grew by 5.2 percent.

Personal income data is not adjusted for inflation; consumer prices rose 1.8 percent in 2012, compared with 2.4 percent in 2011.

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The state with the slowest personal income growth? South Dakota. It recorded a loss of 0.2 percent in 2012, in large part because of the effect of last year’s drought on farm income. That same drought also hurt the economic fortunes of Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa, according to the bureau.

While North Dakota and Texas are growing the fastest in average personal income, they don’t rank as high when it comes to per-capita personal income.

In that category, which divides a state’s total personal income by its population, Connecticut is No. 1 at $58,908. Texas is No. 25 at $41,471, which is below the U.S. average of $42,693. Mississippi comes in last at $33,073.

Top states by growth in personal income from 2011 to 2012:

1. North Dakota 12.4%

2. Texas 4.8%

3. Utah 4.7%

4. Washington 4.5%

5. Montana 4.5%

Bottom states by growth in personal income from 2011 to 2012:

46. Nevada 2.4%

47. Nebraska 2.3%

48. Delaware 2.3%

49. Connecticut 2.0%

50. South Dakota -0.2%

Top states by per capital personal income in 2012*:

1. Connecticut $58,908

2. Massachusetts $54,687

3. New Jersey $53,628

4. New York $52,095

5. Maryland $51,971

Bottom states by per capital personal income in 2012*:

46. Utah $34,601

47. West Virginia $34,477

48. South Carolina $34,266

49. Idaho $33,749

50. Mississippi $33,073


Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis