Westerners, but not Oregonians, have heftier checks than elsewhere in U.S.

| Print |  Email
Friday, June 01, 2007

Personal income per person remains well above the U.S. average in the “left coast” states of Washington and California, as well as in oil-rich Alaska.

Montana and Idaho by contrast remain relatively poor states, with incomes not much above the poorest of the poor: Mississippi, West Virginia and Arkansas. Note that low incomes in the Intermountain West are offset partly by much lower costs of living than in big West Coast metro areas.

0607Indicators4.gifThe income rank of Oregon among the states rose a decade ago after the semiconductor industry invested billions in new Oregon chip plants. As some of that manufacturing activity has slipped offshore, Oregon’s relative standing has eroded.

Personal income is one of the most important and widely watched measures of a state’s economy. It includes wages, salaries, bonuses, proprietors’ income, rents, dividends and transfer payments such as Social Security and unemployment benefits and Alaska Permanent Fund dividends.

Capital gains on housing and securities are not counted as personal income in Uncle Sam’s bookkeeping. They show up on the balance sheets rather than income statements. This helps explain why household net worth remains at a record high despite the notoriously low U.S. savings rate.  

Idaho and Washington ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. in 2006 in growth of total personal income. Montana and California weren’t far behind. Although Idaho’s share of total income remains relatively small, its standing has improved more than others over 10 years. California, Montana and Washington shares also improved. Oregon and Alaska shares have declined.

U.S. personal income rose 6.3% in 2006 measured in current dollars, the best gain since the nation’s economy began expanding following the short and shallow 2001 recession.   

The booming construction industry was a major contributor to 2006 personal-income growth in Idaho, Washington and Oregon. So was manufacturing in all three states, especially of durable goods such as airplanes in Washington and computer chips in Oregon and Idaho.

In both Alaska and Montana, income surged in 2006 in the mining industry, including oil and gas exploration and production.

Personal income in Washington should continue to grow briskly at least for the next couple of years as Boeing head count and production continue to expand.

— Excerpted from Marple’s Pacific Northwest Letter, editor Michael Parks. For information on this biweekly report on Northwest economic trends, visit www.marples.com.

 

More Articles

Legislative Preview: A Shifting Balance

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER

Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.


Read more...

Corner Office: Steve Tatone

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seven tidbits about the president and CEO of AKT Group.


Read more...

Communications error

News
Friday, January 30, 2015
013015-zidellmattfrench-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

How did an errant email to the Zidell family end up fronting a story in the Oregonian this morning?


Read more...

7 industry trends of 2015

The Latest
Friday, January 09, 2015
covertrends15-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Industry groups identify top trends for 2015.


Read more...

5 schools helping students crack code

The Latest
Thursday, January 29, 2015
codeduthumbnailBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As the costs of college mount, and as employer demand for software developers soars, coding schools and classes are popping up everywhere.


Read more...

Transportation Fairness Alliance holds demonstration in Pioneer Square

The Latest
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
IMG 3367BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland's cab companies urged city hall for consideration as officials weigh new rules for Uber and other ridesharing companies.


Read more...

Closing the Gap: The two Oregons and the way forward

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

"Nostalgia is not an economic strategy."


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS